Maro’s new app seeks to help schools screen for depression and anxiety in children • TechCrunch

Morocco has developed a platform that helps families and schools navigate difficult conversations about mental health. The company, which was exhibiting as part of Battlefield 200 at TechCrunch Disrupt, launched its first product, Maro parents, in 2020. Now the company is preparing to launch Maro for Schools next week to help schools screen students for anxiety and depression, with parental consent.

Based in Tennessee, the startup was founded by Kenzie Butera Davis, who originally planned to bring Maro into schools to start helping children struggling with mental health issues. However, these plans were put on hold due to the onset of the pandemic in 2020 as schools had to pivot online. Maro then decided to introduce its platform into homes via the Maro for Parents app. Among other things, the app includes digital modules and an AI-powered robot to help parents discuss difficult topics with their children.

Although Maro for Schools officially launches next week, the company says 350 schools have already signed up to screen 100,000 students in 40 states for anxiety and depression. The program will be accessible via an annual subscription, but the company did not disclose the price.

With the upcoming launch of Maro for Schools, the platform aims to provide teachers with accessible mental health lesson plans. Maro for School also provides teachers with access to resources regarding sex education, substance abuse and more. The platform also enables streamlined communication between teachers and counselors, as teachers can be the first to detect if a child could benefit from help. If a counselor feels a child needs additional care, Maro will connect them with referral partners who provide virtual care.

Maro for School does not perform virtual care, but its goal is to identify at-risk children early and then connect them with virtual care teams.

“We have created a platform to screen children and then refer them to clinical teams who will facilitate and deliver care for the child,” Tariq Chaudry, Maro’s chief medical officer, told TechCrunch. “We essentially act as a marketplace for pediatric development and mental health. We don’t want to be straight into therapy because we don’t want to dilute our business.

The launch of Maro for School comes the same month that the American Preventive Series Task Force had advised screening for anxiety in children aged 8 to 18 years.

Maro is in the process of raising a $1.5 million pre-seed round and plans to use this investment to expand its current team of 11 and further develop its product. Maro expects to close out the round in the next quarter.

About Stuart M. McFarland

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