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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

BrightLife Kids is available for eligible Apple users at no cost. Access for Android users is “coming soon.”

No medical insurance is required to access the apps and mental health services, both websites said.

How will minors be monitored while using the apps?

The department and its vendors, such as behavioral health coaches, follow state and federal laws pertaining to parental consent, privacy and security of the apps, the department said.

“For Soluna, all of the users on the app are anonymous,” the department wrote. “Any user-generated content is pre-moderated and approved by trained and licensed professionals prior to the post being made public.”

Moderators only approve content that is aligned with the goals of the department’s Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative and the Soluna app.


“Users within the Soluna app are not allowed to directly interact with each other, and there is no mechanism for them to contact each other and share personal information,” the department wrote.

For BrightLife Kids, the department said “there is a dyadic coaching model in which services are provided jointly” for minors and their parents or guardians.

“There is no independent usage by children and youth,” the department wrote.

Though eligible minors can access the app anonymously, federal law does not require websites, online services and mobile apps for children to have parental consent if they are over age 13, according to California’s Department of Justice.


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