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Friday, Apr 19, 2024

An ‘Open Table’ Solution for Mental Health

HEALTHCARE: Care Solace Expanding into Schools, Municipalities

In 2012, Chad Castruita experienced a mental health crisis in that led to substance abuse, thoughts of suicide and, ultimately, homelessness. Although both his parents were educated, well-insured and well-connected in San Diego, it still took them nearly six months to find the treatment he needed to get well.

Chad Castruita
Founder & CEO
Care Solace

“When I was stabilized and started to put the pieces of my life back together, it resonated in me how hard it was for my own family to find support and they have the best insurance and a lot of access,” he said. “I often wondered about those families that don’t have access and are uninsured or under the Medi-Cal system in California. How do they navigate these systems?”

With the pieces of his own life put back together, Castruita set out to improve the process of finding care for mental health and substance abuse issues. In 2017, he founded Care Solace, a platform that aggregates all the information families need to find care quickly for a loved one experiencing a mental health crisis.

Castruita described the process of finding mental health care as a “nightmare for families in America,” even for the ones that have insurance. Typical issues people face are outdated directories and systems of support, leading to reaching providers that have long wait times or are no longer in an insurance network.

“That legwork of trying to do the heavy lift of calling 50 to 60 providers, trying to find programs, the navigation and coordination of that is really what prevents 80% of people that need help from getting the help they need,” Castruita said.

The Care Solace platform “brings that clarity that was missing” to finding care with up-to-date data on where, what time and who is available to offer treatment; what languages a provider can speak; drug rehab information on available beds; information on cost and insurance providers; and even pathways of services for specific ages, gender and ethnicities. The data allows for an efficient and expedited experience in finding and booking mental health care.

“We’ve become the Open Table of mental health,” Castruita said.

That ‘Open Table’ experience for finding and booking mental health care has led to quick adoption of the Care Solace platform, which now boasts an infrastructure of 340,000 providers across all 50 states that is updated in real time for all the various information families will need to find the most fitting care. The company is currently doing business in 37 states, mostly through school districts that were early adopters of the platform.

“COVID advanced our cause significantly,” Castruita said. “School systems have very little resources for coordinating services for their own students, their own families, their own staff, so we became the go to service in U.S. public education K-12 to be able to address this access issue.”

Care Solace currently works with nearly 1,000 school systems, and has served over 5 million students to date, reaching almost 20 million families.

Although the launch of Care Solace focused on making “an extreme impact” for youth in mental crisis, Castruita said the company is also “morphing into a community healthcare service.”

Anita Ward
Chief Growth Officer
Care Solace

To lead the transition into adoption of the platform by municipalities, Care Solace recently hired Chief Growth Officer Anita Ward, who previously led growth at Salary Finance and is a past-president of Operation HOPE, a global nonprofit dedicated to the financial empowerment of marginalized communities.

“I believe that mental health is a basic human right and that the mental health care crisis must be solved. Navigating the outdated ecosystem is complex and challenging,” Ward said. “Care Solace’s mission to calm the chaos and eliminate the systemic issues associated with equitable access to care has a social purpose with the power to literally save lives.”

Along with saving lives, Care Solace also saves families money. Unlike other services that make money from lead generation and subscriptions paid for by families seeking help through Google or Yelp searches, Care Solace provides its platform to large institutions like insurance networks, municipalities and school systems for an annual fee based on the populations served, “so that any resident or any first responder can help somebody into services free of charge without any issues,” Castruita said. “We felt that if we could provide a service to the institutions that have the funds from the state and federal government – Cares Act funds, Medicaid dollars – and they saw the value in our service, then they could budget for it and pay for it directly – that’s what we wanted to do.”

Care Solace

Founded: 2017
CEO: Chad Castruita
Headquarters: Cardiff
Business: Platform for simplifying and expediting care in mental health
Employees: 520
Website: www.caresolace.org
Notable: Care Solace has more than 15 million individuals on its platform.


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