The expansion of Hazel's services to include mental health care comes at a critical time for our nation's youth, as mental health crises are at an all-time high. In October, The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) declared children's mental health a national emergency, and in December, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory warning on youth mental health, after indicators showed alarming increases in the prevalence of certain mental health symptoms. Just last month, the CDC reported findings from their Adolescent Behaviors and Experiences Survey that more than 1 in 3 high school students experienced poor mental health during the pandemic.
Hazel's mental health services have launched in districts across seven states to date, including in Duval County Public Schools in Florida, Aurora Public Schools in Colorado, and Clark County School District in Nevada. Hazel's team of licensed therapists has provided thousands of hours of direct clinical care to students, reducing school and district waitlists.
"We have students who may not have had mental health concerns previously, but due to COVID-19, they now have mental health concerns," explains Katrina Taylor, Director of School Behavioral Health in Duval County Public Schools. "Some of our areas for providing mental health support are at capacity due to higher demand. Hazel is able to fill these gaps that we have, allowing us to avoid referring a family to outpatient care. With outpatient care, we expect the parent to make an appointment for the student as well as transport the student to the appointment. Hazel removes the barrier by providing mental health services in the walls of the student's home."
In addition to offering direct services and case management, Hazel is launching new resources this May for Mental Health Awareness Month to support students, schools and families with mental health access. Joining the national movement to raise awareness, Hazel has expanded information about mental health services on its website, and will share a series of mental health provider stories and wellness tips throughout the month on Hazel's blog and social media channels. Hazel also plans to launch an additional web page designed specifically for teenagers, who face unique challenges when it comes to seeking mental health care.
Andrew Post, a former assistant superintendent and Chief Innovation Officer at Hazel Health, explains, "As a former teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, I felt compelled to develop a mental health solution that can truly address the historic challenges my educator counterparts face every day. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts were operating at maximum capacity. Now, the level of need for support has been severely exacerbated. Referral systems are designed to link schools and communities, but the reality is that any viable solution also needs to expand clinical capacity to meet student needs as they arise, not weeks or months later."
Hazel Health is working to transform access to pediatric care in schools to help improve the quality of children's lives and combat the systematic inequalities that prevent millions from receiving proper care. Hazel's mental health services directly address the ongoing challenges that students, families, and school faculty face in their attempts to streamline identification, treatment, and ongoing support for mental health concerns. With Hazel's support, pediatric mental health can be addressed in a manner that's effective, efficient, and accessible for all.
Schools interested in learning more about Hazel Health's telehealth services can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-76-HAZEL. They may also learn more about Hazel's mental health services at https://www.hazel.co/mental-health.