School Health and Wellness//
January 29, 2023
Today’s teens need mental health care support more than ever before. Statistics concerning the mental health challenges adolescents experience are alarming—and seem to be increasing in severity.
Schools play an essential role in supporting their students in all aspects of health, particularly mental health. School-based counseling services allow for early identification, prevention, and treatment of mental issues; reduce barriers for underserved populations; and may reduce absenteeism.
However, despite the growth of mental health services and resources, challenges remain for both schools and families when seeking mental health care for their students, including provider shortages, equitable accessibility, stigmas, and cost.
Aubrey, age 16
For the past couple of weeks, Aubrey has experienced symptoms of anxiety. She’s noticed her academic performance and desire to interact with others have declined and wants to talk with someone about her feelings.
But she is embarrassed and doesn’t want others—especially her parents—to know she’s struggling and not succeeding academically, socially, and personally. Going to her school’s counselor might help, but Aubrey doesn’t want her friends to see her walking to the office and is afraid the visit might be documented on her record. Aubrey keeps quiet and tries to handle these mental health struggles on her own.
Sam, age 17
What began as a dare turned into a coping mechanism—Sam tried vaping to fit in with his friends. But when he realized it helped him cope with recurrent feelings of overwhelming sadness, it became routine. Vaping wasn’t a perfect antidote, though. While he knows he should talk to someone about the feelings he’s experiencing, he’s afraid of getting in trouble and nervous about what they might think of him. His school provides resources and help for mental health struggles like his, but Sam can’t work up the courage to admit he needs them.
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Telehealth Helps Students Receive Mental Health Support
When students feel overwhelmed and stressed, they need people they can turn to for guidance and counsel. Unfortunately, they face various internal and external barriers to receiving care. Additionally, schools nationwide are struggling to provide the support and qualified personnel needed to address mental health. What’s worse is that those who are available are often overburdened.
Even if your school has an active counseling program, your staff can't be available 24/7/365 to your entire student population.
Telehealth services—while not a complete replacement for in-person mental health care—offers an advantage for both students and schools, bridging the gap in receiving care.
Telehealth Provides Connection Anytime, Anywhere
If a student has a mental health crisis at any time—in and outside of the regular school day— access to a telehealth platform enables them to interact with a mental health professional through an app, video call, or phone call in their time of need. If a student feels uncomfortable seeking help from their school counselor, or if that counselor is unavailable at the moment they need help, the student can chat or text a provider through a telehealth platform.
The ability to connect with a professional on their terms and through technology they’re familiar with can also reduce the social stigma teens may feel regarding mental health support. They can receive care without worrying about being seen by someone else at their school counselor’s office or traveling to a third-party therapist with their parents.
Additionally, mental health professionals who use telehealth platforms can provide services in areas that otherwise students would not have access to their care and resources, such as rural locations.
Emerging Statistics Prove Telehealth’s Success
The Journal of Medical Internet Research recently conducted a study to determine if telehealth platforms could successfully reduce suicidal ideation among enrolled patients, compared to a control group of individuals that did not receive similar care. The results revealed that patients in the telehealth care group were 4.3 times less likely to have suicidal thoughts.
ISM Takes Telehealth A Step Further For Students
ISM's Wellness in Independent Secondary Education (WISE) provides students in grades 9–12 access to mental health professionals 24 hours a day, seven days a week, through a custom phone app. Students can connect with professionals by calling or texting—the response is almost instantaneous.
Through on-demand access to an expansive network of licensed and experienced mental health and medical professionals, students receive support for:
- mental health;
- primary and psychiatric care coordination;
- sexual and interpersonal violence support and advocacy;
- cognitive behavior therapy (CBT);
- suicide awareness, assessment, and prevention; and
- well-being and resiliency.
Your students will experience secure, confidential, single sign-on access to all their health care providers, affording those providers an exceptional ability to coordinate your student’s care. Plus, parents have a dedicated portal so they can actively participate in the care of their student.
WISE is tailored to your school’s unique needs—and complementary to your existing resources. Our goal is to empower your administrators, counseling services, and faculty members to provide the best support possible for your students.
For less than the average cost of one therapy session, WISE provides your high school students with 24/7/365 access to mental health professionals. For more information about WISE, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our webpage.
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