As the mental health of students becomes a prevalent concern throughout the nation, a rural Wisconsin school district is taking action. The Lake Holcombe School District is about a 20-minute drive from the closest mental health facility, making it difficult for students and their parents to attend counseling sessions. As a result, the district is partnering with Prevea Health to provide counseling via video conferencing.
With more focus being placed on the mental health of students, conditions like anxiety and depression are being more readily diagnosed and treated. However, to obtain treatment, students and parents need access to mental health professionals. That’s where video conferencing technology will come into play.
Through video conferencing, students will be able to participate in therapy sessions with a Prevea mental health provider on school campus. The sessions will take place in a private room next to the school counselor’s office, where students can be comfortable and speak freely and privately to their therapist. The district serves approximately 300 students. It’s estimated that at least twenty percent of those students are suffering from mental health issues.
“We found [proximity] was a barrier to care for patients who were seeking services but didn’t have a means of transportation to receive the service,” Nicole Califf, a behavioral care clinic manager for Prevea told Wisconsin Public Radio. “It also wasted patient time to try to have the counselor commute to the more rural schools,”
Mental health issues and the stigma surrounding their treatment are being addressed across the country as national suicide rates rise. As Parentology reported earlier this year, suicide is a growing problem in the United States. According to the American Psychological Association, the suicide rate has grown 30 percent from 2000-2016, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the country. It’s also the second leading cause of death for kids ages 12-18 per the Parent Resource Program.
Combining therapy and technology to reach kids in need, programs like Lake Holcombe School District’s could prove beneficial as it provides mental health treatment to students who would otherwise go without.