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The number of startups focused on mental health has surged in the wake of the pandemic and a growing mental health crisis. They want to help people to meditate on their phones, or prescribe drugs that can be delivered right to their doors. But few focus on the most vulnerable patients, people with serious mental illness, in the real world.

This month, a for-profit startup co-founded by former National Institute of Mental Health leader Thomas Insel quietly launched with $29 million in funding to focus on patients with conditions such as schizophrenia that can seriously impair their function. Vanna Health, which has already struck partnerships with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and of Arizona as well as Jefferson Insurance Group, aims to connect patients with serious mental illness with existing local resources and, in areas where resources are scarce, to create them.

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