Press Release

Daybreak Health is Helping to Solve the Mental Health Clinician Shortage with Associates Fellowship Program

This program provides in-depth training and supervision for associate clinicians while sustaining a strong pipeline of diverse therapists that reflect the populations Daybreak serves.

SAN FRANCISCO (September 28, 2023) – Daybreak Health, the leading provider of school-based mental health services, today announced the expansion of its Associates Fellowship Program, with the mission of developing and mentoring the best licensed clinicians to serve youth. The Associates Fellowship Program allows the best and brightest Associate Marriage and Family Therapists and Clinical Social Workers to work with Daybreak’s clinical leadership team to obtain their licensure by getting rigorous training and supervision.

The current demand for mental health services is radically exceeding the supply of providers, causing a crisis-level national shortage, particularly for youth in school settings. The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) recommends a ratio of 1 school psychologist per 500 students, but they currently estimate a ratio of 1 per 1,211 students. With this new expanded program, Daybreak is committing to addressing this national emergency by helping to train the next generation of clinicians.

By investing in growing the clinician profession, this program ensures that the best possible care is available to those who need it. It offers a unique opportunity for early-stage clinicians to gain hands-on experience and receive guidance from experienced, licensed professionals in the field. This not only benefits the trainee or associate, but also the young clients they serve by ensuring they receive high quality and effective therapy. 

“Helping to develop the next generation of clinicians supports Daybreak's mission of providing access to affordable mental health care for all youth. With more clinicians accessible through our teletherapy program with partner school districts, we hope this will have a ripple effect in addressing the broader industry challenges,” said Alex Alvarado, CEO and Co-Founder of Daybreak Health. “We aim to create a world where every young person can benefit from personalized mental health support, and this program not only supports education more broadly, it also drives superior quality of clinicians.”

Acceptance into the program is highly competitive and each candidate goes through a multi-tiered interview process. We require that associates have some post master's direct experience working with youth. Associates join the program at different points in their clinical hour accrual process. Once their hours are complete, they are eligible to sit for their state licensing exam and become licensed. The goal is for associates to transition into being a Licensed Clinician with Daybreak to work with students at our partner districts. 

This creates a pipeline for new licensed clinicians and a long-term investment clinicians make in their journey at Daybreak. In just 6 months, the program has grown to cohorts of associates in California and Oregon. We are also actively building out the program in North Carolina. The program will continue to grow as we expand our partnerships across state lines.

“Daybreak’s Associates Fellowship Program has been incredibly transformative for me as I transitioned into social work after pursuing my graduate work a little later on in my career. The clinical supervision I’ve received has greatly allowed me to enhance my skills, knowledge and effectiveness as a youth social worker,” said Beverly Wertheimer, associate clinical social worker/psychotherapist and adjunct professor of psychology at Pepperdine University. “It is providing me with a solid foundation to give the best support possible to youth seeking mental health care by equipping me with the skills I need to ensure they receive high-quality and effective therapy.”

“We’re proud that our clinical supervision for associates in this program supports a culture of continuous learning and professional growth among therapists. This only helps create a team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals who can deliver the best possible care to youths,” said Lauren Passoff, Clinical Director at Daybreak Health. “Our supervision allows for the exploration of innovative and creative therapeutic techniques, which can contribute to finding new and more accessible approaches to mental health care.”

About Daybreak Health 

Daybreak Health partners with school districts to provide personalized mental health support to help students reach their full potential. As the leading K-12 teletherapy provider, Daybreak’s programs are designed to give students access to high-quality, affordable, and culturally competent care to meet their unique needs. Our evidence-based model treats students to a place of concrete improvement to drive academic outcomes like better grades, higher attendance, and behavioral improvements. To learn more about Daybreak’s school-based mental health programs, visit

Downloadable Content

The State of Youth Mental Health & Our Schools

How schools are responding to the rising demand for student mental health services.