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California offers free mental health services for kids and families with new apps. Here's how

Angela Rodriguez, The Sacramento Bee on

Published in News & Features

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California has launched two mental health apps for teens, young adults, children and parents — and they’re free to use.

Last year, the program was being tested in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties but has recently become available statewide for those under 25, according to the California Department of Health Care Services.

Solunaand BrightLife Kidswere launched Jan. 1 as part of the state’s CalHOPE program, with funding from the Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative to address the mental health needs of families, The Modesto Bee reported in November.

With a $4.6 billion budget, California’s five-year initiative works to provide free access to mental health services and support for substance use, including one-on-one support with a wellness coach and wellness exercises.

“DHCS is leading several initiatives to expand access to mental health and substance use disorder supports for children and youth,” the California Department of Health Care Services wrote in a statement to The Sacramento Bee on Friday afternoon.

Here’s what you need to know about California’s new, free mental health care apps:


How do the apps work?

“While both apps offer similar services, the main difference between the two are their audiences,” the department wrote.

BrightLife Kids is intended for children under 12 years old and their parents or caregivers. Soluna is an anonymous app intended for minors and young adults between the ages of 13 and 25.

“The apps are tailored to those age groups,” the department wrote.


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