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Introducing Clayful: On-Demand Mental Health Support in 60 Seconds for Students of the TikTok Generation

Clayful partners with schools nationwide to offer evidence-based mental health coaching to students 8-18 years old

The company’s proactive approach to mental health gives every student the opportunity to connect with a mental health professional when they need it most, addressing the nationwide counselor shortage

Backed by investors behind over 100 leading edtech companies, Clayful has already connected thousands of students across the country to coaches for support


Today, Clayful announced its official launch to bring on-demand mental health support to students where and when they need it. With $7M in funding led by Reach Capital (Nearpod, ClassDojo, Epic, Newsela), the team of K-12 educators, education tech pioneers, mental health professionals, clinical advisors, and parents is providing modern, proactive mental health solutions to students in K-12 schools by connecting them with a human coach within 60 seconds. The chat-based approach extends its reach nationwide, collaborating with schools and school districts to address the mental health support gap effectively.

In an era defined by external pressures that have surged beyond the education system’s capacity, the pivotal role of schools in nurturing the well-being of children and teens has never been more apparent. However, the demand for mental health resources has outpaced available counseling and teaching staff, with only one school counselor for every 408 students. Clayful proactively bridges this gap, providing comprehensive tools to support struggling students and overwhelmed counselors. The platform is designed to equip schools to be at the forefront of mental health care, offering timely interventions and fostering a supportive environment for students navigating the complexities of today’s world.

“Our middle schoolers consistently tell us that mental health is one of their top concerns,” said David Herrera, Learning Improvement Officer at Federal Way Public Schools in Washington. “Clayful has enabled us to do something that hasn’t previously been possible: provide on-demand mental health support to all students. Clayful is responsive, caring, and their coaches work with students to support them to resolve any problems.”

The platform, which is provided at no cost to students, includes these key features:

  • On-Demand Coaching: Connects students to certified human coaches in as little as 60 seconds.

  • Real-Time Resilience Building: Helps kids and teens develop resilience in the moment vs. waiting to address challenges when they reach a breaking point and hurt themselves or others.

  • Multilingual Support: Offers coaching services in 133 languages to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for diverse communities.

  • Human Interactions: Gives personalized, confidential support to every student by connecting them to certified coaches who are current and former educators, and mental health professionals.

  • Confidentiality: Clayful’s anonymity protocol allows students who are uncomfortable seeking help in front of peers to seek help via chat. In the event of a crisis, Clayful coaches and coach supervisors work together to follow clear and codified escalation procedures.

“Thousands of students across the US are already feeling Clayful’s impact, and we believe in their approach to making such vital support accessible to a broader spectrum of students. Their top-notch coach selection, robust training, and rigorous certification exemplify their commitment to ensuring a high-quality, trusted platform, and we are excited to support them in accelerating their reach of even more students and schools,” said Wayee Chu, General Partner at Reach Capital.

“We partner with schools and districts with an on-demand solution to meet the needs of every student while supporting hard-working counselors with a triaging approach to student intervention,“ said Maria Barrera, Clayful co-founder and CEO. ”Clayful is designed to help schools reach 100% of students, when and where they need it.”

Co-founded by Maria Barrera and Melissa Pelochino, the duo brings over 25 years of combined experience in education and edtech. Barrera, an early team member at Nearpod, scaled the company to reach millions of students before it was acquired for $650M in 2021. Pelochino, a former teacher and administrator for a decade, served as Director of Professional Development at the K-12 Lab at the at Stanford University before working as a consultant at Google and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She later oversaw Professional Development and student content at education tech giants Nearpod and Seesaw.

“I really appreciate what the Clayful team is doing in today’s world because this stuff is life changing and life saving.” 7th grade student, Michigan.

To learn more about Clayful and get on-demand mental wellness support in your school district, visit

About Clayful
Clayful is filling the mental health support gap in schools. By connecting students with a human coach in 60 seconds, Clayful ensures every student has immediate access to the necessary resources and support tools they need, despite the growing counselor shortage. Clayful Coaches support thousands of students across the country to work through everyday challenges, manage emotions and problem-solve together, in real time.

Last year, Clayful secured third place in the world’s largest pitch competition for EdTech startups at the ASU+GSV Summit, the premier global EdTech conference, and was named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative by Design in 2023. The company is backed by leading edtech investors such as Reach Capital, OVO Fund, Common Sense Growth Fund, Charter School Growth Fund’s Innovation Fund, Wisdom Ventures, with contributions from the Google for Startups Latino Founders Fund, among others.

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