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5 Years With Lyra Care: Transforming Mental Health

For the one billion people experiencing mental health issues, getting care can be frustrating, overwhelming, and deeply isolating. It means phone calls to providers who aren’t taking new clients, months-long wait lists, and huge out-of-pocket payments.

While more people are seeking therapy than ever, it remains scarce, inaccessible, and expensive for many. Stigma blocks people from getting care. Quality is uneven and unmeasured. And fewer than 20 percent of treatments are evidence-based.

We founded Lyra to change that, setting ourselves on a mission to transform access to life-changing mental health care. Since then, we’ve learned that the solution to these issues isn’t just offering a better list of providers or a more beautiful online experience. To deliver life-changing care to anyone who needs it, we had to develop an entirely new approach to mental health care. That’s why we invented Lyra Care.

The team celebrating our first Lyra Care booking in 2018!

Lyra Care: a clinical breakthrough

Lyra Care marked a true breakthrough when we welcomed our first clients in 2018. It brought together several important innovations in mental health care. We started by creating the largest network of evidence-based providers and pioneering the use of AI to make it easy for members to find the right clinician. We combined that with technology to stay connected with members outside of live sessions, using messaging, videos, and exercises to help them solidify new mental health skills. And we rooted Lyra Care in rigorous scientific principles, building teams to review and improve care. When your members need it most, you can trust Lyra to provide effective, high-quality treatments.

After five years, millions of completed sessions, and 16 peer-reviewed studies, we know that Lyra Care is proven to get members better faster and keep them better longer, changing lives at a fraction of the cost of traditional treatments.

Lyra Care makes it easy to meet with a clinician and build skills between sessions with videos, exercises, and messaging.

The largest network of evidence-based providers

At Lyra Care’s core is a fundamental difference in our provider network. Instead of contracting with one-off providers, we hire them directly—building and operating our network end-to-end.

We’ve taken this decisive step against the grain of the industry because we realized the limitations of solely relying on contracted providers. While they allow mental health solutions to scale services quickly, there’s little quality control and even less data.

Quality has been a long-standing challenge in mental health care. Unlike physical medicine, most mental health conditions lack a biomarker or lab test, leaving them prone to unproven or even dubious treatments. As an employer, you can sponsor your members’ care and have no insight into how much they’re getting or if it’s working.

We wanted more for our customers and their members. So, we built our provider network from the ground up to ensure that members always receive proven, evidence-based treatment. We consistently measure outcomes and base care decisions on clinical data. And we give you visibility into those outcomes, offering secure, de-identified reporting for 96% of your members.

The best care is our duty

We’ve also reimagined our providers’ experience. Outside of Lyra, most contracted providers operate alone. Like any team, however, clinicians thrive when they’re engaged and supported. So, we’ve built the environment for our providers to do their best work. Instead of working in isolation, Lyra Care providers collaborate and share their clinical expertise with one another through formal consults and informal ongoing discussions. Each one of our providers is part of our extended team. When members meet with a Lyra Care provider, they benefit from the combined knowledge of our entire network.

Our provider network is upheld and nurtured by a team of clinical managers. They’re on call every day to support our providers by consulting on challenging cases, offering continued development, and proactively identifying quality issues.

Lyra Care providers offer the best treatment because they receive ongoing feedback, peer support, and APA-accredited training.

This level of collaboration, oversight, and support is unmatched. In 2022 alone, our 100 clinical managers provided over 250 hours of support per day. For some, this might even seem excessive. We view it differently. Over 15 million members entrust Lyra with their most precious asset—their mental health. When your members are in their darkest, most vulnerable moments—when they’re feeling alone—there’s hope. There’s an appointment time tomorrow. There’s a Lyra provider ready to listen and help. Supporting your members isn’t just our work, it’s our duty. Lyra Care is our commitment to honor that duty.

Making it easy to find the right provider

It isn’t enough to connect a member with any provider. It has to be the right one. Finding a therapist is a deeply personal experience. It’s a one-of-a-kind relationship where people feel safe to share their most intimate thoughts and feelings. Without this critical connection, members are far more likely to drop out of care or fail to progress.

Lyra makes discovering this trusted relationship easier than ever. We use AI to help members match with providers who align with their needs, preferences, and lived experiences. A remarkable 95% of members stay with their first Lyra Care provider.

We’ve placed a high premium on cultivating a diverse provider network so members can connect with someone who shares their lived experiences. Nearly half of our providers identify as BIPOC, and over 1,000 identify as LGBTQIA+. This fosters the trust, safety, and understanding essential for genuine therapeutic breakthroughs. Our matching technology then intelligently pairs members with providers who are right for their needs.

Technology for an ongoing dialogue and lasting outcomes

Where traditional treatments stop, Lyra Care creates an ongoing dialogue. Between live sessions, members interact with their providers through exercises and videos that teach lasting skills. Unlike contracted clinicians, Lyra’s providers are available between sessions to comment on activities, respond to messages, and tailor treatment plans. Lyra Care turns the 168 hours between live treatments into an extension of the care itself.

We take pride in developing our media in-house, with top PhDs and creative experts partnering to create content that’s effective and enjoyable. We use storytelling to validate the member’s experience while modeling the use of mental health skills in real-world situations. Our between-session support, known as guided practice sessions, enhances clinical improvement and increases the likelihood of completing treatment. The result is an immersive, engaging, and clinically powerful approach that makes it easy to stay in care and see results.

A behind-the-scenes look at Lyra’s content development process. Shown here are different characters evaluated for our teen-specific guided practice sessions.

With Lyra Care, members not only achieve near-term relief but also lasting symptom improvement. Eight in 10 members maintain symptom improvements after one year, demonstrating Lyra’s unrivaled ability to teach lasting mental health skills.

Rooted in rigorous scientific principles

When we launched Lyra Care, our team would celebrate whenever a member booked an appointment. Since then, members have completed millions of Lyra Care sessions. This has generated an unprecedented trove of outcomes data and, with it, an opportunity to answer important questions in mental health research. Lyra Clinical Research, a team of doctorate-level scientists, evaluates this data for new approaches to care.

We’ve published 16 peer-reviewed papers using real-world data from different Lyra Care programs, employment types, and demographic groups. Insights from our publications are then fed back to our clinicians so quality continuously improves.

Our insights aren’t exclusive to Lyra. We publish our research openly to the broader scientific community, helping improve mental health care as a whole.

Further enhancing high-quality care for teens

We all deserve access to high-quality, proven care. Over the coming months and years, the Lyra Care model and philosophy will continue to expand and transform care for new communities. We’re building on our already robust adolescent services and vast network of child mental health specialists to bring Lyra Care to teens in 2024.

The past few years have introduced unprecedented mental health challenges for teens. Suicide has tragically become the second leading cause of death in youth. Parents acutely feel these struggles, too. Many are sacrificing their careers to prioritize their child’s well-being. That’s why we’re expanding our support for teens, building specialized care for members aged 12-17.

Lyra has consulted with a nationwide group of teens to design care tailored to their needs. We’ve brought the best teen specialists into our employed network, empowering them with Lyra Care’s digital tools. Teens will benefit from an immersive blend of proven therapy, expert-guided videos, and curated exercises from the Lyra app, enabling them to build foundational mental health skills that will serve them throughout their lives.

In 2024, teens will be able to access a Lyra Care program specifically designed to meet their needs and unique challenges.

Invest in mental health care with confidence

Lyra Care redefines mental health care, uniting top providers, cutting-edge technology, and groundbreaking research for accessible, life-changing treatment. With it, you can invest in mental health confidently, knowing that your employees’ well-being will be safeguarded by care proven to get members better faster and keep them better longer. Join the thousands of companies entrusting Lyra to elevate their workforce’s well-being.

Empower your employees with the tools to thrive today.

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About the author
Alethea Varra, PhD
Senior Vice President of Clinical Care

Dr. Varra is a licensed clinical psychologist and senior vice president of clinical care for Lyra Health. She serves as the senior clinical leader for therapy programs and is responsible for driving overall clinical strategy and oversight of clinical quality and training. She received a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She completed her internship training at VA Puget Sound Healthcare System and a research fellowship at the Mental Illness Research and Education Center (MIRECC) in Seattle. She has over 17 years of experience in mental health and clinical operations. She focuses on healthcare innovation and program development and is passionate about improving access to evidence-based mental health care, especially for underserved populations.

By Alethea Varra, PhD
Senior Vice President of Clinical Care
1 of November 2023 - 7 min read
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