Alongside Releases New Data Report Illuminating Teen Mental Health Crisis

The mental health app for middle and high school students offers analysis of its platform data during Mental Health Awareness Month

SEATTLE (May 8, 2024) Alongside, a clinician-powered and AI-enabled mental health solution, today announces its first annual Pulling Back the Curtain on Youth Mental Health Report. The inaugural report aims to uncover timely factors contributing to the current teen mental health crisis as described by the app’s users—middle and high school students.

The study utilizes anonymized data from over 30,000 confidential sessions teens held on the AI-powered app during the 2023-24 school year. Most notably, analysis of the platform data showed that for over a third (36%) of chats, students wanted to process feelings and feel heard, outranking other session purposes like building a skill or receiving advice about a problem.

“There’s no disputing that today’s teens live in an ever-evolving societal and technological world that causes them a lot of stress and anxiety.,” says Dr. Elsa Friis, Head of Mental Health at Alongside. “Our findings clearly indicate that teens value a safe space to explore and process the world around them without judgment. Such a finding lays bare the simple importance of offering empathy and understanding as the foundation for providing support.”

Alongside’s report offers granular data about specific topics teens are seeking help on, documented in their own words. The study offers the following insights:

  • Building and navigating interpersonal relationships is the stickiest issue for today’s teens
    While using the app, across all grades, teens discussed or sought support for an interpersonal relationship 40% of the time, followed by school-related topics and their self-identity. The most common issues for 5th to 8th graders were friendships; for high schoolers (besides 11th graders), romantic relationships; and for 11th graders, schoolwork and grades. The most common school-related challenge for students on Alongside was not having the motivation to get work done, which appeared to stem from feeling overwhelmed or struggling with a specific task.Interestingly, students did not frequently mention the role of social media or how they were communicating on the app. This suggests teens do not delineate between online and offline interactions when thinking about how others make them feel, whether good or bad.
  • Many students aren’t meeting guidelines for mental wellbeing
    The average student using Alongside sleeps for less than eight hours per night (53.5%), which is below CDC recommendations for teens. Most students on the app also describe themselves as eating ‘somewhat’ healthy (68%) or not so healthy (18.7%), and doing 15 minutes (18.6%) or no exercise (40.4%) a day, also under the CDC-recommended 60 mins per day for adolescents. These findings elevate the importance of examining the relationship between physical and mental health.
  • Students are more apt to ask for help when access is convenient and confidential
    On the Alongside app, teens consistently report that the ability to get help in a private, confidential space is paramount, especially on topics they may not yet feel comfortable discussing with an adult. Further, when related roadblocks were removed, students on Alongside were in more frequent contact with their school’s mental health network. 37% of students decided to share their chat conversation with their school mental health professional or counselor to inform their care.  This finding illuminates how Alongside supports counselors and mental health providers in schools so they, in turn, can provide the best help to students. The American School Counselor Association recommends a 250:1 ratio of students to counselor, although the national average exceeds 400:1. While digital interventions cannot replace the value provided by human resources, they can help to reduce the workload by meeting students’ basic needs so that the current workforce can focus more time on the students who need it most.

For more insights, the Pulling Back the Curtain on Youth Mental Health Report is available online.

“Our hope for this inaugural report is to help teachers, parents, counselors and school leaders better understand what today’s teens are going through,” says Jay Goyal, Founder & CEO of Alongside. “Only through their first-hand perspective can we best develop solutions that meet teen preferences—while also unburdening the limited supply of mental health professionals available to students.”

About Alongside
Alongside is a mental health app that provides personalized prevention and early intervention to secondary school students. Students can experience immediate relief with Alongside’s chatbot and in-app resources, which are created by a team of doctoral mental health experts and directly informed by evidence-based clinical models. The founders of Alongside previously founded Actively Learn, a K-12 digital curriculum company which was acquired by McGraw Hill in 2021. Alongside was founded in April 2022 to provide preventive mental health support to mitigate the youth mental health crisis. Learn more by visiting

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Margot Toppen



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