Many American schools are turning to online therapy services to address the increasing mental health struggles among students, with concerns raised about the quality of care and competition with in-person practitioners.
Rising Demand for Online Therapy in Schools
The soaring mental health struggles among American youth have prompted many US public school districts to provide online therapy sessions to students. At least 16 of the largest school districts are now offering such services, with contracts worth over $70 million.
Benefits and Concerns of Teletherapy
While online therapy has made it easier for students, particularly in rural and lower-income areas, to access mental health support, concerns have been raised about the impact on traditional in-person practitioners. Additionally, questions regarding the qualifications and experience of online therapists have emerged, along with issues related to privacy protocols.
Expansion of Teletherapy Companies
The rapid growth of teletherapy companies, fueled by venture capital funding, has led to substantial revenue through contracts with school districts. San Francisco-based Hazel Health, for instance, has secured multi-million dollar contracts with various districts, emphasizing its commitment to child welfare amid its expansion.
Government Initiatives and Localized Impacts
Government initiatives, such as New York City’s launch of a free telehealth therapy service for teens, reflect efforts to improve access to mental health care. In Hawaii, the demand for teletherapy has surged, particularly in rural areas, following traumatic events like wildfires.