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On-Demand Mental Health Platform Clayful Decreases Anxiety Symptoms In Over Half of Student Users, New Studies Show

New studies highlight Clayful’s impact of virtual, on-demand coaching for K-12 students


Clayful, an on-demand, chat-based mental health coaching platform for K-12 schools, announced key study findings that address students’ current mental health state, their response to a chat-based approach, and the impacts of on-demand mental health coaching. The insights illuminate the critical state of mental health and services as a blueprint for implementing new technology to enhance student wellness.

Amid a nationwide counselor shortage and growing mental health concerns, key findings include:

  • 58% of students engaging with chat-based coaching saw a decrease in anxiety symptoms.*
  • The average improvement in anxiety symptoms was 33%*
  • Engagement among students was high, with 80% of students with anxiety engaging in at least one chat-based session and 52.9% of students with depression engaging with a coach*
  • Students engaging in two or more chat-based sessions experienced a 47% improvement in depressive symptoms*
  • Nearly two-thirds of students above the depression cutoff saw a decrease in depression symptoms after just two sessions*
  • The Standard Students’ Research report by Stanford Business School**, found significant evidence that Clayful leads to an improvement in PHQ-4 scores for students with elevated initial anxiety levels
  • Based on ongoing internal feedback from Clayful students, more than 1 in 3 students reported that if they didn’t have a coach to talk to, there was absolutely no one else they could go to.

“I’ve worked at charter schools, in alternative education, and in adult education for over 15 years. And in all of those circumstances, students would much rather text me instead of coming into my office or using any other form of communication,” says Charlie Wynne, Plainwell Community Schools District Compliance and Coordinating Officer. “Clayful is unlocking mental health access for students who would have never known it was an option for them.”

In 2023, 59% of youth with major depression didn’t receive any mental health treatment, highlighting the ongoing mental health crisis among young people. Clayful’s platform, providing human coaching in 133 languages within 60 seconds, addresses this urgent need by placing innovative solutions directly into students’ hands.

While mental health support is essential across all demographics, boys’ mental health often receives less attention. The significant engagement of male students with Clayful’s platform, anecdotally reaching up to 70% in some schools, reveals a strong demand for mental health resources, often silenced by stigma. The platform offers them a way to discreetly navigate their emotions effectively, contributing positively to destigmatizing mental health issues.

“Clayful’s approach takes away the anxiety of getting called on to visit the counselor’s office in front of one’s peers and allows students to seek support the very moment difficult emotions arise,” says Clayful Founder and CEO Maria Barrera. “By working together with school counselors, Clayful is filling the gaps and providing support that might otherwise not be available at a moment’s notice, and the results we’ve seen from students shows that meeting students where they are is really working.”

*Clayful used the PHQ-4 questionnaire to survey approximately 400 students in grades 6 to 8 from a mid-sized district in Washington during the 2022-2023 school year. **Clayful also engaged with Stanford Business School to complete a Standard Student’s Research Report with approximately 900 students from grades 6 to 9. The research shows that students are receptive to virtual coaching and highlights the impact of one-on-one help when and where students need it. Available for download at:

As Clayful grows and technology continues to evolve, these insights set the stage for continuing to bring more resources and tools to those who need them most.

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.

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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