Joon’s Teen-Centric Therapy Continues to Deliver Top-Notch Care 4 Years Running

We launched Joon for teens and young adults in 2020 amid a global pandemic. With abrupt closures of mental health facilities and outpatient clinics, the need for high-quality, accessible mental health care had never been higher. Joon launched with our signature combination of face-to-face live telehealth therapy and app-based skill-building and assessment tools. 

Four years later, the pandemic has subsided, but the mental health crisis for young people persists. According to national data, rates of anxiety and depression have skyrocketed in the last 10+ years (1, 2), and suicide is now the second leading cause of death among 10–24-year-olds. In 2023, the US Surgeon General issued a national advisory on youth mental health, calling it the “crisis of our time” (3). Major contributors to rising rates of mental health problems among teens and young adults include gun violence, social media, and loneliness.

In good news, however, evidence is clear that therapy can be an effective treatment for teen mental health problems (4). The CDC continues to recommend evidence-based mental health counseling as a frontline treatment for teen depression and anxiety (5).

Joon provides just the kind of evidence-based therapy the CDC is talking about. Clients receive personalized care grounded in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) provided by a licensed therapist. They also build coping, relaxation, and emotion regulation skills using customized and on-demand activities in Joon’s iOS and Android app.

Four years in, we can confidently say Joon works! The vast majority of teens and young adults who receive therapy with Joon show significant improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms after just 12 weeks of care.

Our Clients’ Outcomes Show that Joon Works

A key component of gold-standard treatment is using evidence-based assessment tools to track and evaluate client outcomes. This measure-based approach ensures we can measure progress toward treatment goals and that therapists can personalize treatment for each client’s needs. At Joon, clients complete industry-standard anxiety (GAD-7) and depression (PHQ-9) questionnaires before every therapy session.

Joon therapists review their clients’ anxiety and depression data every week to adjust care as needed. We also review company-wide clinical data every six months to ensure that Joon’s model of care continues to deliver best-in-class outcomes. Our most recent effectiveness data is based on Joon’s first 595 clients who began therapy from 2020 through 2023.

At Joon, all therapy is conducted remotely through our custom-built Joon app. Clients attend their therapy sessions from the convenience of their smartphones. That is also how they complete these questionnaires and practice the skills assigned to them by their therapist.

One of our goals at Joon is to offer inclusive, welcoming care to all teens and young adults. In the first four years, 62% of Joon's clients were girls and women, 32% were boys and men, and 6% were non-binary. Joon’s gender data uses each individual’s gender identity, not the sex assigned at birth. When therapy began, 77% were between ages 13 and 17. The remaining 23% were 18–26 years old.

On the left, a pie chart in shades of green shows the gender distribution of Joon clients.  62% were girls and women, 32% were boys and men, and 6% were non-binary. Joon’s gender data uses each individual’s gender identity, not the sex assigned at birth. On the left, a pie chart in shades of blue shows the distribution of client ages. 77% were between ages 13–17 when therapy began. The remaining 23% were 18–26 years old.

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Joon Therapy Has Proven Highly Effective in Treating Depression and Anxiety in 12 Weeks

Clinical research studies show that evidence-based therapy is effective in treating anxiety and depression among teens and young adults (6). These industry standards provide a benchmark against which to compare Joon’s distinctive model of care.

The results are clear. After just 12 weeks of therapy, Joon's clients show significant improvement in both depression and anxiety. The vast majority of clients with clinical or severe symptoms at the start of treatment are in the normal range of symptoms after 12 weeks of Joon therapy. These results meet or exceed published industry standards, demonstrating gold-standard treatment through Joon’s care model.

For young people coming to Joon for care with clinical levels of anxiety, 78% saw their anxiety levels return to normal non-clinical levels within 12 weeks. In contrast, only 43% recovered to normal levels in the same time period in other in-person therapy (7). For clinical levels of depression, we see similarly striking results, with 71% of Joon clients recovering to normal symptom levels after 12 weeks, compared to only 27% for clients of other in-person therapy (8).

Bar charts showing recovery rates for Clinical Anxiety and Depression. For Clinical Anxiety, 78% of Joon clients recovered to normal symptom levels after 12 weeks, compared to only 43% recovery for clients of other-in person therapy using clinical research studies as a baseline. For Clinical Depression, 71% of Joon clients recovered to normal symptom levels after 12 weeks, compared to only 27% for clients of other in-person therapy in clinical research.

For clients with higher levels of anxiety termed severe using industry-standard benchmarks, an astounding 88% of Joon clients had their symptoms down to normal levels within 12 weeks. For severe depression, 82% of Joon's clients recovered.

Bar charts showing recovery rates for Severe Anxiety and Depression. For clients with higher levels of anxiety termed severe using industry-standard benchmarks, Joon clients recovered 88% of the time, compared to the industry benchmark of 43% For severe depression, 82% of Joon clients recovered, compared to 27% in industry benchmark research.

These recovery terms use the same evidence-based measurements. Recovery means being within the normal symptom range for at least half of the prior four weeks.

Teens Working with Joon Stay Engaged in Therapy

How is Joon able to deliver such strong clinical results? It all comes down to our unique model of care. Our custom-built mobile app lets us engage clients in and outside scheduled sessions, giving us more opportunities to deliver impact. Our teen and young adult clients actively engage in therapy and implement the skills recommended during treatment, which promotes their recovery.

Joon’s evidence-based model of care includes skills practice through the Joon mobile app. This way, young people have the tools they need in their pockets all the time and can practice them on their iPhone or Android phone throughout the week.  Some of these skills are available on-demand at any time (such as relaxation techniques), while others are custom-assigned by the therapist to accompany the unique work done in live sessions (such as coping strategies or cognitive reframing skills). 

  1. Skill Completion
    Most therapists assign skills on the Joon mobile app following live therapy sessions for clients to interact with and practice before their next scheduled session. These assigned skills help clients practice and apply what they have learned in session to their daily lives. The average skill completion rate is nearly 60%, compared with an average of 20–50% in published controlled trials that typically include incentives for participation (9).
  2. Skill Engagement → Better Outcomes
    More importantly, skill completion is associated with improved outcomes, supporting the Joon model of care. Highly engaged clients—those who complete most of their assigned skills—tend to show improved symptom reduction compared to those who do not. Clients who take advantage of the Joon app’s opportunities for self-practice show even more substantial outcomes, nearly 2x the symptom reduction of clients who don’t practice most of their skills.

Why do Teens and Young Adults Need a Unique Mental Health Care Approach?

Although the mental health crisis is well documented, teens and young adults can be difficult to engage in care. Most mental health companies target either adults or children, but teens are neither. Their mental health needs are unique—in particular, teens are more likely to have co-occurring symptoms (such as anxiety mixed with depression) than are younger children or adults, and their still-developing brains make them more vulnerable to unsafe and impulsive acts. 

Teens’ mental health engagement is also distinct. Their developmentally appropriate desire for autonomy and independence means they are sensitive to privacy concerns. They want reassurance that their experience in therapy is confidential while often still living with and financially depending on parents or guardians who are understandably curious about what’s happening behind closed therapy doors. Finally, teens are now used to engaging with all kinds of content—including school—on their devices. They often approach technology-enabled therapy with greater desire and confidence than older adults.

Joon’s unique model of care was custom-built for the distinct therapy needs of 13–26-year-olds. Our technology-supported therapy combines the best of live therapy with an engaging mobile app that makes therapy more accessible to teens. Accessing care from the privacy of their device in their room gives teens the independence and confidentiality they crave. At every step, their care is personalized by their carefully chosen therapist, who is matched to their needs so that they get the support they need when they need it. 

Designing our care model specifically for developing teens and young adults, including a technology-forward approach, is the main driver of Joon’s outstanding clinical outcomes. We’re also proud of the tremendous team of therapists at Joon who put their hearts into this work every day. They bring their expertise and care to these young people each week, helping them achieve their personal goals for mental well-being.

June 4, 2024
Amy Mezulis, PhD | Co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer

Amy Mezulis, PhD | Co-Founder & Chief Clinical Officer

Amy Mezulis, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist who received her BA from Harvard University and her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from University of Wisconsin – Madison. Dr. Mezulis provides services to older children, adolescents and adults utilizing an evidence-based, cognitive-behavioral approach that includes mindfulness and acceptance-based treatments. Dr. Mezulis has specialized training in mood and anxiety disorders, eating disorders, suicidality and self-injury, trauma, substance use, and adolescent development. She is Professor Emeritus at Seattle Pacific University, where she previously chaired the Clinical Psychology PhD program and continues to supervise doctoral trainees.

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