Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) is partnering with Hazel Health to offer short-term telemental health services for students in sixth through 12th grade. The service is free and offered to all students regardless of insurance and/or immigration status, or a family’s ability to pay.
Initially the service will be offered at middle and high schools. It may be offered to elementary schools in the future. Hazel Health offers two ways students can receive virtual counseling — at home or at school. The at-home visits will be available prior to, and during winter break, while school appointments will start in mid-January.
For children to receive at-home virtual visits, they must have access to a web-enabled device and a person 18 and older must be in the vicinity of the child during the visit. At-school visits take place during school hours on a Hazel Health-provided iPad in an area designated for the sessions and coordinated by a trained staff member. Students are afforded privacy during at-school visits.
“Hazel Health is a leader in the field of telemental health services,” Michael Blanchard, PsyD, CCPS supervising school psychologist, said. “The advantage of using telemental health services is that equitable availability of service can be in place for families with limited access to outside providers and resources.”
Students can be referred for services by parents/guardians or school staff members such as counselors, school psychologists or pupil personnel workers. Parents must consent for their child to receive services if school staff refers them. Hazel Health employs bilingual therapists and half of its counseling staff identifies as Black, indigenous or people of color.
Licensed therapists meet virtually with students who are in school or at home and offer brief solution-focused therapy in six to 10 sessions following an intake visit. Most sessions take approximately 30 minutes with the student, their parents and the clinician determining how often the child will attend sessions. Hazel Health will continue to follow up with families for an additional six months following the last meeting to ensure the student is progressing. If it is determined that a child needs long-term mental health support, CCPS and Hazel Health staff can help the family find a local provider.
Hazel Health’s licensed therapists can help children and teenagers with emotions, including stress, anxiety, depression, bullying, grief and loss, academic stress and other issues that may affect a student’s ability to be in school and ready to learn. Students who are already receiving mental health services will not be able to use those provided by Hazel Health as the industry standard does not allow for the duplication of services.
To learn more and sign up for services, visit Hazel Health’s CCPS site at https://my.hazel.co/ccboe/info.
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,598 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides nondiscriminatory equal access to school facilities in accordance with its Use of Facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).