Did you know there are 1.3 billion tweens and teens in the world today? Adolescents make up 16% of the global population, and 100% of our future. The transition from childhood to adulthood has never been more complex or more critical than it is right now. Rising rates of depression, anxiety and self-harm indicate a youth mental health crisis, and conventional approaches fall short of providing the tools teens need. It’s time to seek solutions that are youth-driven, science-based, accessible, affordable and scalable… like Lucero.
Lucero is a gamified wellness app for tweens, teens and their crew. It works like a digital daily self-care vitamin, making it easy and fun for adolescents to practice emotional regulation, boost self-confidence and connect with others who radically support them. Instead of a crisis-intervention approach, Lucero builds daily habits over time: a science-backed strategy that protects teens’ mental health and helps them grow into self-care savvy, purpose-driven adults. Here’s how we do it:
1. Give youth and families the tools to talk about hard topics.
Research shows that tweens, teens and their caregivers want to talk about mental health but lack skills, language and resources. Lucero ensures that all our content is co-created and approved by trauma-informed licensed therapists and grounded in evidence-based methods like Solutions-focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. Whether you’re a teen or a caregiver, Lucero puts simple solutions in hand and makes it easy to talk about hard topics and reach out for support.
2. Make it youth-driven, fun and engaging.
We asked teens, “If you had a magic app to solve the problems you face, what would it do?” Then we built the safe space they asked for. We believe there’s no better source of data about the support teens need than young people themselves. That’s why we recruited a panel of 27 tweens and teens to create, review and approve all our content. And everything inside Lucero’s world makes emotional regulation fun and engaging, including evolving avatars, 84+ gamified micro-lessons on topics like confidence and self-awareness, 600+ self-care ideas, and badges to track progress.
3. Make it affordable and accessible.
Two of the biggest barriers to mental healthcare are accessibility and cost. Licensed community therapists often have a 5- to 8-month waitlist and cost between $75-150 per session and school counselors serve an average of 464 students each. There’s a clear need for solutions that streamline support for youth and families regardless of income or location. To use Lucero, all teens need is access to a smartphone. The app will always have a free individual account version available, and Crew subscriptions are just $10/month.
4. Cultivate connection.
Strong relationships with peers and caregivers protect teens’ mental health more than any other factor. Connection with others boosts teens’ confidence and helps them develop social skills, emotional resilience and self-awareness. Lucero makes it easy to strengthen relationships by giving teens the option to connect with up to 7 family members as part of their Crew. Family is inclusive of any combination of youth and adults who want to radically support each other.
5. Build healthy habits by making it bite-sized.
The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for planning, prioritizing and impulse-control. Since it’s still developing in teens, adolescence is the perfect time to lock in healthy habits for self-care and emotional regulation. Behavior scientists say the best way to build those habits is to start small and reward progress, so that’s just what Lucero does. It’s a safe space where teens can just be themselves and gain tools for a lifetime of healthy habits… all in just a few minutes a day.