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Candlelit is a digital mental health company focused on providing Black and multicultural families with at-home depression and anxiety screening, data-driven insights and talk therapy. When moms feel off balance mentally and emotionally, it can feel easier to suffer in silence at work or home than to seek help from professionals skilled to identify and treat perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMADs), which affect 1 in 5 women and families in the U.S.
That's where we enter!
We help women discover, book and maintain therapy 24/7 from the comfort of their home.
Are you or do you know a new mom considering therapy, but not sure where to start? Beginning Summer 2020, our mobile app will provide free virtual screenings to learn about individual risk, mental health check-ins and access to at-home culturally-competent therapy.
Depression is a leading health complication during pregnancy and after childbirth with short- and long-term impacts on women and families, however more than half of women at risk never receive treatment. Despite federal recommendations to screen all adults for depression in 2002, 2009 and 2019 by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a national study in 2017 found that less than 5 percent of adults, including moms, were screened in primary care settings.
Risk factors for untreated depression include individual or family history of mental illness, abuse, unplanned pregnancy, stressful life events or gestational diabetes, and cost society an estimated $14.2 billion in failed interventions and lost productivity over the span of five years.
MEET OUR FOUNDER
Candlelit was created in August 2017 once I saw a lack of access to culturally-competent emotional and mental health screening, education and support when I became a mom eight months after getting married. I developed preeclampsia and felt overwhelmed after an emergency delivery of my son, but I was never screened or asked about my emotional well-being and I’m not alone. Less than 10% of women who screened positive for postpartum depression received treatment in the following six months.
Building on my personal and professional experiences as a Black mom, public health researcher and journalist, I’m using my voice to shed light on unique challenges and health complications experienced by Black women when screening is absent.
Whether you're thinking about having kids, currently pregnant or recovering from childbirth, it’s hard to find time, energy or space to practice self-care. My goal from Day 1 has been to help women practice self-care, which I define as listening to your intuition and responding to yourself as fast as you respond to your emails. I didn’t know where to search for support or resources, so I created Candlelit Therapy.
As a Black female-founded team, we're committed to elevating voices of Black women and families. We're here to lift you up and help you shine throughout your pregnancy and your little one's early years.
Black families deserve access to quality, culturally-competent postpartum care. Nearly two million millennial women of color give birth and enter postpartum periods each year in the U.S. with a majority of families entering parenthood largely unprepared, unsupported and under-treated when they need it most.
As behavioral health professionals grow scarce in the U.S., we plan to make it easier for hospitals and health systems to identify patients who benefit most from counseling intervention while helping women advocate for themselves at each doctor’s visit.
Did you know ...
Black moms account for 42.8% of maternal deaths from pregnancy and childbirth complications compared to 13% of white women in the U.S.*
Black families spend an avg. 20% of their household income on healthcare costs as compared to 11% of household income by white families.
But, guess what?
60% of U.S. pregnancy and childbirth complications are preventable.*
So while tragic, we're joining national efforts to reduce disparities and save lives.
At Candlelit, we know you deserve better. That's why - we're building a new standard of care rooted in cultural competence, evidence and technology. By combining machine learning technology with culturally-competent therapy, we’re making preventative screening and counseling accessible to approx. 61 million women of color in the U.S., so they don't have to navigate a bias-ridden health system alone.
Typical 6-week postpartum visits aren’t enough, so we’re building something 100x better.
Screening women for social, physical and mental risk factors that increase vulnerability to complications prior to, during and after labor is critical. Unfortunately, no accurate, scalable screening process to identify individuals at-risk for perinatal depression is available, so we're building one to make it easier for healthcare professionals to determine patients who will benefit most from counseling intervention.
Not another ‘match me with a therapist’ app.
Our mobile app will be free to download and offer access to at-home mental health screening, virtual check-ins with licensed therapists and support from other moms with similar risk profiles.
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Every two minutes, a woman dies from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth worldwide. This means earlier intervention is critical. Through amazing volunteers, bootstrapping personal funds and deferred payments to the talented women who've supported our mission from the start, we've been able to bring Candlelit to this point. If being in therapy for nearly a year has taught me anything, it's knowing when to ask for help. We've spent nearly a year testing an early prototype to prove our concept. Now, we're ready to develop a digital health platform, so that you can have an easy access to mental health support and education at your fingertips. All support will directly go toward research and software development of our product to ensure we can deliver a bias-free talk therapy experience for you. Interested in partnering with Candlelit? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How Did We Get Here?
2017 - Present: Referral-driven, peer-based mental health support via a subscription box
Spring 2019: Conducted customer interviews, research and built mobile app wireframes
Summer 2019: Invited by U.S. National Science Foundation to submit an SBIR grant proposal
Fall 2019: Built a functional prototype on Calendly
January 2020: Launched prototype with a cohort of local therapists
February 2020: Held first Candlelit Therapy mental health pop-up event at studio
March 2020: Started building custom AI
Summer 2020: It's time for us to grow and deliver our support to every woman of color.
Startup Boost NYC
Black Girl Ventures
All Raise Seed Bootcamp
MATTER & Parkview Health
National Science Foundation
Founding Team Members
Development: Victoria Henderson
Data Science: Pooja Umathe
Operations: Kambria Ruffin
Marketing: Ivie Igbere
Funds raised on iFundWomen will be used to build a first-ever virtual therapy clinic.
We cannot thank you enough for your support. We believe deeply in our mission and can't wait to create a world of that provides women of color with quality, culturally-competent emotional and mental healthcare, with you by our side. We are an ode to each woman in our lives who continue to light our flame. We’re here to light yours.
Join our journey!
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*content source: CDC/National Center for Health Statistics; Premier Study