Coaching and Mental Health

Some companies in the mental health space are focused on coaching, rather than therapy or other more traditional forms of treatment. This approach is especially appealing to business clients. It is clear why businesses are interested in the mental, as well as the physical, health of their employees. The economic burden of major depressive disorder, for instance, is estimated to be over 200 billion dollars per year in the US. And mental health coaching looks like an effective way to address this burden.

One of the more interesting companies in this space is Ginger, which offers “behavioral health coaching” for employers to provide to their employees.

Therapy and Coaching

What is coaching, and how does it differ from therapy? The subject is itself an issue of contention. Some coaches argue that they are focused on solutions and the future, whereas therapists are (mostly) focused on problems and the past. But many therapists would dispute that characterization.

Ginger provides its own characterization of coaching, emphasizing that the two are not mutually exclusive. They also underscore the symbiotic relationship between coaching and employee wellness. If what one wants is a healthy and productive workforce – as employers do – then the appeal of coaching is understandable.

Ginger and Other Coaching Companies

As noted above, one of the most prominent startups in this space is Ginger, which lets companies provide their employees with near-instantaneous access to behavioral health coaches.

Other companies in the mental health coaching space include:

Octave: While Ginger markets online coaching B2B, Octave offers video coaching directly to consumers, preceded by in-person consultations in attractive spaces in New York and San Francisco.

Vida: Vida offers coaching for all health conditions, physical as well as behavioral. It offers both consumer-facing and B2B products.

Joyable: Joyable is an app-based coaching product, offered directly to employers, and focused on CBT-based solutions.


Companies like Ginger stand at the intersection of three distinct innovations in mental health. First, the role of employers in directly providing mental health services. Second, the rise of coaching as an adjunct to traditional therapy. Third, the delivery of mental health care online. All three trends can be expected to accelerate, and we can reasonably hope to see continued innovation at the convergence of these three developments.

Note: The contents of this post are for informational purposes only. This is not professional medical advice and it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a physician with any questions that you have about a medical condition, including a mental health condition. If you think you are in a medical emergency, call 911 or your local emergency services number immediately.

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