Hi, my name is Josh Knutson. I am a former Licensed Counselor (LMFT in CA) and currently co-own and operate a social emotional learning and mental health startup out of Dallas, TX called Rhithm. As a counselor I worked with complex childhood trauma in a rural education setting. The students I worked with often relied on coming to school 1.) to escape the challenges they experienced in their home lives and 2.) to make vital human connections with friends and adult caregivers that sustained them through these challenges.
As soon as schools began to close my thoughts went to these students and the millions of other students like them. I also recognized the tremendous service people like you all provide to your students and how that would be impacted and interrupted; and considered that suicide is the second leading cause of death for the 10-24 age group, and how connection to others is a major protective factor in this area. Generally I recognized that while basic needs must be met first, the potential impact of dramatic changes to mental health and social-emotional resources could have far reaching impacts if we neglect to continue to attend to these needs.
I left my career as a counselor to start my current business because I saw that the need for mental health and social emotional learning in education was much larger than I could solve in one room, one student at a time. I co-founded Rhithm because I saw the need for a mental health/SEL solution that could be simple, efficient, and scalable; that wasn’t “one more thing” for teachers; that provided real, useful data; that could be a tier 1, tier 2, and tier 3 intervention all wrapped into one; that could simplify this whole process so that we could once and for all solve this problem: 98% of principals report SEL programs would benefit their students, 35% report implementing SEL school-wide (-CASEL, “The Missing Piece”).
What I did not foresee, and what I did not originally set out to solve was the problem we now face: transitioning our school systems online for the foreseeable future and figuring out how to continue to attend to the non-academic needs of the students we serve. Serendipitously however (call it by grace, by design, or by pure luck), Rhithm might actually be precisely, and inadvertently, the solution to this new problem, at least with regard to students’ mental, social, and emotional needs.
To learn more please feel free to visit this link where you can find all the information you’d want to know about Rhithm. That said, I would love to meet any and all of you who are interested to know more in (digital) person, to understand how we can serve you and those you serve best. You can join me and my co-founder for a deeper dive by scheduling at this link. Or if none of these times work for you you can reach out to us via email, call, or text. We’re real people and will answer any medium.
Finally, to be clear, we are a for profit company, and a cash-strapped startup at that. However, the second core value of our company is “Heart-Centered” and the fourth is “True Believers.” We believe that if you do what is right, good things come. And we know that what is right is to eliminate the barriers that stand in the way of students getting the help that they need. For this reason, we are making our offering completely FREE for the time being.
So if you are looking for a solution please reach out. We are here to serve you. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this message.
With Love, Josh Knutson CEO • Rhithm