Mental Health Support for Alumni

The National KIPP Alumni Network is committed to making mental health support more accessible, starting with complimentary therapy.

Therapy Pre-Enrollment Form

Therapy for KIPP Alumni

The National KIPP Alumni Network is proud to share that we are offering complimentary services to support your mental health and well-being. Spaces are limited, so take advantage of this opportunity now!

We’ve partnered with two organizations, Ayana Therapy and Talkspace, to offer remote self-service and live mental health services.

Ayana Therapy

Ayana Therapy is a BIPOC -centered organization committed to providing online mental health therapy for marginalized and intersectional communities. Ayana is grounded in the belief that finding the ideal therapist is a right, not a privilege, and matches users with a therapist that reflects a user’s various identities (racial, religious, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.) They strive to address the strong lack of engagement between minorities and the mental health care industry which arises as a result of cost, stigma, and lack of cultural competency. They achieve this by matching users with licensed professionals that share their unique traits, values, and sensibilities.

You can read more about Ayana here:

What services are offered?

  • (8) 45-minute virtual therapy sessions
  • (6 months) unlimited texting
  • Commitment to a diverse pool of therapists from different races, ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and religion
  • Direct access to a dashboard for alums to book appointments with a therapist

Click here to see Ayana Therapy FAQs.


Talkspace is an online therapy service that connects users to a dedicated, licensed therapist in their state of residence via messaging or live video. Users can regularly message their dedicated therapist via text, voice or video as life happens – anywhere, anytime. Therapists engage daily, five days per week. Founded with the mission to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health and make therapy available to all, Talkspace has a network of thousands of credentialed clinicians and has been used by over one million people.

What services are offered?

  • (24) 30-minute sessions; 2 per month
  • (1) 60-minute psychiatric evaluation; alums 18+ only
  • Unlimited access to mental health resources
  • Direct access to a dashboard for appointment scheduling

Click here to see Talkspace FAQs.

Therapy Pre-Enrollment Form

Program Details

How will you determine which program is a better fit for me?

The program managers will match you with Ayana Therapy or Talkspace based on the following criteria:

  1. Current participation in Scholarship Programs, Alumni-network Fellowship Programs, and Alumni Entrepreneurs who are un-or-under-insured.
  2. An alumni’s desire for short-term (less than 6 months) or long-term (more than 6 months) of mental health support.

About the Program Managers

Who is Erica Martinez-Close?

Erica Martinez-Close, a KIPP Foundation program manager and internationally certified wellness practitioner, will be overseeing the Ayana Therapy program. Click here to learn more information about Erica.

Who is Jamelfrey Pacheco?

Jamelfrey Pacheco, Director of the KIPP National Alumni Network, currently manages our partnership with Talkspace, along with other programs within the National Alumni Network. Click here to learn more about Jamelfrey.

Important Contact Information

If you are in crisis, please seek immediate help.

Emergency Medical Services, 911

If the situation is potentially life-threatening, get immediate emergency assistance by calling 911, available 24 hours a day.

988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

If you or someone you know is suicidal or in emotional distress, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Trained crisis workers are available to talk 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline national network. These centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals.

Call or text 988 or go to

General Inquiries: Please contact the Alumni Network team at

Questions about Ayana Therapy? Please contact Erica Martinez-Close at

Questions about Talkspace? Please contact Jamelfrey Pacheco at

Ayana Therapy Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you are matched with a counselor, you will be able to use the app to begin communicating with your therapist. There, you can engage in virtual therapy meaning text messages, phone calls, as well as video sessions with your therapist.

  • Text sessions means you are able to text with your therapist without being charged for any number of communications. They won’t be available for emergency situations on call, but each therapist will discuss individually based on client. They will not be available around the clock and will traditionally fall within normal waking hours, etc.  

  • After you finish the intake questions on Ayana, you are then matched with a recommended counselor(s). You are then able to read their bio and choose. If for some reason you feel it isn’t a good fit you can always request a new counselor.    

    Counselors at AYANA are licensed, trained, experienced, and accredited psychologists (PhD / PsyD), marriage and family therapists (LMFT), clinical social workers (LCSW / LMSW), or licensed professional counselors (LPC). All of them have a master’s degree or a doctorate degree in their field. They have been qualified and certified by their state’s professional board after successfully completing the necessary education, exams, training, and practice. While their experience, expertise, and background vary, they all possess at least three years and 2,000 hours of hands-on experience. To learn more about some of the counselors, please visit:  

  • It’s okay if you are new to therapy and just want to see what Ayana is about. We encourage any KIPP alum who is curious about mental health support to sign up and use Ayana for free.  We do not support the idea that a person needs to be “really sick” in order to seek out mental health support. If you are in any way interested, please sign up!  We also encourage alumni to sign up even if you are not sure how long you are able to participate. Remember this is free to all KIPP alumni.  

  • If you haven’t received an email from Ayana within two business days, please check your spam box or junk box first.   

    After checking, please send an email to Erica Martinez-Close, a KIPP Foundation program manager, who will be overseeing this program. Please don’t hesitate to contact her at if you have any questions or concerns.   

  • For technical issues about the Ayana app, please reach out directly to Ayana at

  • If you have any concerns or questions about the therapy you are receiving from Ayana, please don’t hesitate to contact Erica Martinez-Close, at  E-mail Erica at any time and know that she is here to support you each step of the way.  

Talkspace Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes. On the Talkspace platform, privacy and safety are always our first consideration We deploy a variety of techniques to ensure that you and your data are always kept safe and confidential, and our technology is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All data is encrypted on the servers, and all communication between our software and the servers is encrypted. The Talkspace app requires you to enter your password and allows you to create a unique passcode for extra security. If you have a device that supports fingerprint authentication, we also have a feature that recognizes your fingerprint.

  • Yes. Talkspace will not share your information with your organization. In order to protect confidentiality according to HIPAA, we require all users to create a unique nickname during the registration process, which is only shared with their therapists. You can determine whether you want your therapist to call you by your first name or nickname during therapy. While Talkspace will not share your information with your organization, we do require every user to submit emergency contact information, which is only accessed according to safety and reporting mandates. 

  • Absolutely. Talkspace has an extensive, nationwide network of thousands of licensed mental health providers, credentialed in accordance with NCQA standards. All Talkspace therapists have been carefully vetted and trained on the platform, and have an average of 7-10 years of experience, post-supervision, providing therapy. 

    Talkspace constantly monitors both engagement quality and clinical outcomes to ensure that all of our users are receiving the best possible care. By tracking this data, we are able to strengthen our matching process to ensure that you will be matched with a therapist who will support you in making the greatest progress. Not only are all of our therapists rigorously vetted, but every therapist who is part of the Talkspace provider network undergoes an extensive onboarding process to ensure that they are able to apply their skills effectively.

  •  Yes. You will maintain an ongoing relationship with the same therapist unless you request a change. 

  • Messaging between users and Talkspace therapists is asynchronous, meaning that users and therapists do not communicate in real time. You can reach out to your therapist as often as you need to (and at any time of day), and expect to hear back from your therapist within one working day, during their business hours, five days per week. If your therapist is responding less frequently than daily/five days a week, please contact the Talkspace support team at 

  • Yes. To switch therapists, please follow the steps below: 


    1. Log into the Talkspace website directly at using a web browser.
    2. Once logged in, click on your username in the upper right corner of the screen. This will bring up a new menu, on which you can click on “My Account.”
    3. In the “My Private Rooms” section, go to the row with the word “Therapist,” and click on “Change” found on the right side of that row. 
    4. Keep in mind that you can choose whether to share your previous therapy notes/transcripts with your new therapist.

    For iOS/Android: 

    1. Log into the Talkspace app with your email address and password. 
    2. Once logged into their private room, you can select the menu icon, three lines on the left side of the screen, or slide to the right to find the menu where you can select “MyAccount” or “Settings”. 
    3. On the My Account or Settings page, select “Change Therapist.” 
    4. Users can choose whether to share their previous therapy notes/transcripts with their new therapist. If you require assistance, you can email partners at directly, and the Talk space support team will work with you to secure a new therapist. This can take up to three business days.