Jun 17, 2020
By David Ebersman, Lyra Co-founder and CEO
I want to thank each of you who have recently shared your perspective regarding racial injustice. I am grateful for your courage and your words have meaningfully enhanced my understanding. Some of the conversations have been difficult, and they have made me wiser about systemic racism and how far we are from our ideals of equality and justice. We should all be unequivocally outraged by systemic racism, specifically by the violence and brutality directed at Black communities every day. These reprehensible issues are not new, and many of us are struggling as we hold the weight of anti-Black violence, trauma, and grief.
I also want to thank you for all your ongoing efforts to support our clients and providers who are grappling with the many issues related to systemic racism. I want to build on this work and describe the actions we will take to integrate anti-racism more deeply into our business. I developed this plan with input from many of you, along with our diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) consultants.
This is the area where Lyra is uniquely qualified to make the biggest difference–for our clients. Within the next two years, we will make measurable changes to differentiate how effectively we support the needs of underserved groups, including Black and Latinx clients. We have been working hard to ensure diversity in our network of mental health care providers, and going forward we will commit more resources to this effort. People of color will be a majority of the U.S. workforce in the coming years, and that same trend should be reflected in our provider group. Given the current demographics for licensed therapists in the U.S., having a majority of our providers be people of color will take time and require us to support training and licensure of more Black and Brown providers. We will also do more to support our providers, including creating affinity groups and multi-cultural competency training so that Lyra can be a supportive home for providers who prioritize racial justice.
Further, we will create clinical content tailored for Black clients and for other underrepresented minorities and we will share materials with customers to support them in promoting a more diverse and inclusive environment. In our product, we will make it easier for clients to search for providers who identify as a racial or ethnic minority. We will set and communicate specific, quantifiable goals for these efforts and we will measure our progress over time. With all of these actions, Lyra will make a difference at the intersection of effective mental health care and inclusion.
We will dedicate more energy to making sure Lyra’s workforce reflects the diversity of the population we aspire to serve. We will also invest more in ensuring our work environment is one where employees feel comfortable being their full, authentic selves. We will take time every year to get your feedback about what is working and what needs improvement in our work environment from a DE&I perspective. We are launching a search for a DE&I leader whose goals will include actively supporting our efforts to attract diverse providers, making our candidate pipelines more racially and ethnically diverse, and promoting internal efforts to drive equity and inclusion. We are also initiating a search for a Board member who identifies as Black or Latinx. We will be more explicit about our commitment to DE&I in internal and external company materials. To foster accountability, we will add DE&I to our company goals and provide quarterly updates.
In addition, we will continue to create space for dialogue about how we do more to identify and dismantle systemic racism. For example, next week we will begin a companywide conversation facilitated by an outside expert about race, social privilege, and racism. Ultimately, each of us is responsible for making DE&I a priority in our company culture.
We will be a partner for individuals and organizations like Black Lives Matter that are working towards necessary change in society and we will join them in affirming the truth that Black lives are worthy, beloved, and needed.
Our clinical team is developing a plan for Lyra to provide support for people of color who are interested in becoming therapists, unrelated to any specific connection to Lyra’s business. In addition, we want to support our employees who donate time and money to support racial justice. In that vein, we have decided to give all employees another day off so you can support anti-racist causes or recharge your batteries. In addition, I will match employee donations up to $500 to any qualified 501(c)3 charity dedicated to advancing diversity and racial justice. Some of you have shared other big ideas for Lyra to support society more broadly, and while these ideas are beyond our capabilities today, we look forward to continuing the conversation to reach towards these aims in the years ahead.
Stay tuned for more information about all of these efforts. In the meantime, here are some resources to help you continue the conversation:
Ultimately the success of these efforts is up to us as a team, working in partnership. I look forward to your ongoing feedback and support as we work toward a more just world inside and outside of Lyra.
If you need support with stress, anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues, Lyra can connect you to a behavioral health solution that is right for your needs. You can get started today if Lyra is offered by your employer.