GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. — A new partnership between Guilford County Schools and one of the top school-based mental health providers in the country is hoping to help students struggling with mental health issues.
Guilford County middle and high school students will now have access to unlimited one-on-one teletherapy sessions with mental health physicians.
The district is partnering with Daybreak Health, a leading provider in school-based mental health services, to expand teletherapy in the county.
Alex Alvarado is the CEO and co-founder of Daybreak Health. He said strong mental health is key for students to do well in school.
“We really believe that student success starts with mental health and that you can’t succeed academically unless you have that strong foundation of mental health and wellbeing," Alvarado said.
Kids today are facing a mental health crisis. Students in North Carolina are especially feeling that struggle.
“A survey was published that showed actually one in five youth in North Carolina in 2021 at some point considered suicide," Alvarado said.
Like many other districts, GCS observed an increase in mental health needs among their students in the past several years.
The new program is designed to meet these mental health needs while also providing students with access to culturally competent care from clinicians of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
“We’re able to really offer personalized services where clinicians are matched to students based on their specific needs, languages, the different conditions they're dealing with," Alvarado said. " We can really provide very rapid access to high quality therapy for them.”
Daybreak's unlimited access model means the district can easily refer any student to the program who they think will benefit from its services. The goal is to help students dealing with a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, grief and much more.
Alvarado said every session is uniquely designed to each student with the goal of giving them tools to succeed.
“Our goal when we work with students is not only to make them feel better from a symptomatic perspective but also then to help them succeed at school and at home," he said.
Teletherapy sessions can start within one to two weeks of a referral from the district as long as the student has parental consent. The service also comes at no cost to families.
Referrals should be opening up in the next few weeks.