Telemental services now in schools: What you need to know

Telemedicine has come a long way in connecting mental health professionals with patients in need, now extending its digital arm into schools across the country. School officials tout that with an added telehealth offering, there is increased access to “a wide spectrum of care including primary and acute care, chronic disease management, behavioral and mental health, speech therapy, dental screenings, nutritional counseling, and prevention and health education.” With schools now embracing the shift to telemedicine, it is important to know what this means for the student and the provider.

A gap in mental health services

In many schools across the country, there is only one or two nurses on duty for a student body that reaches upwards of 1,000 kids. Today’s school funding doesn’t not provide students with care that encompasses a variety of complex issues. Some children needing mental health services may not receive the care they need, or receive this care in a timely manner. Telemedicine looks to fill this gap in care, connecting a student with a telemental health care professional via live-video conferencing. Some states noticed this void right away, Texas Georgia and New Mexico were the first states to enact legislation that mandated Medicaid reimbursement for telemedicine services rendered at schools.

School telemedicine initiatives increase

Other states are catching on, South Carolina launched its telehealth pilot program last year and, because of its success among providers and students, is expected to double its coverage to a total of 40 schools soon. Florida is the most recent state to adopt a school telemedicine platform by launching a telemedicine initiative for a special needs school in Miami, and Arkansas is following suit, approving a 1.2 million dollar grant for telemedicine programs in schools across the state. California is boasting “telemedicine carts” in several schools across the state, serving thousands of children that suffer with issues that require more immediate attention through diversified telemedicine offerings.

Secondary educators adopt Telemental services

Colleges are also embracing the shift, especially in an age where mental health services are incredibly crucial but scarce. After losing eight students to suicides in only two semesters, Colorado State University knew they needed to improve students’ access to mental health care. Colorado State University recently launched a mental health portal that connects students to crisis and behavioral health professionals online. School officials understand that in today’s digital age, students respond well to online treatment and want to assure both their academic and mental well-being.

Schools across the country are connecting students with the mental health care professionals they need through a telemedicine platform. Find out how to increase your reach through taking your mental health practice online by emailing by calling 888-958-2885.