When Hazel launched in APS in January 2022, several key program features were implemented to ensure that the partnership augmented APS’s existing mental health care infrastructure.
Before Hazel, all of APS’s mental health offerings were on-site at school–there was no telehealth option. Hazel’s teletherapy services opened the door for both in-school and at-home access, creating more appointment times and scheduling flexibility. Teletherapy maximizes the number of available mental health care providers, since providers can be licensed anywhere in the state, and do not commute or travel between school locations. Telehealth also ensured that students who were more comfortable engaging in therapy from home were still able to access care.
Hazel assembled a bilingual team of therapists with a variety of backgrounds to represent the diverse student population of APS. The better a student is represented and understood by providers, the better they can be treated, and the more likely they are to experience positive outcomes.
APS worked closely with Hazel to ensure that the referral process would not be a barrier to care. In Colorado, students who are of legal age of consent for mental health services (12 years or older) can self-consent for mental health services. While Hazel supports having a parent or guardian involved in their child’s mental health care, students who self-consent can choose whether to notify their guardians, which is sometimes in the best interest of the student. APS established a request form that students could access by scanning a simple QR code on posters throughout its school buildings. Once students fill out the form, APS counseling staff support students by connecting them with the best mental health partner for further care, which in many cases includes filling out a direct referral on behalf of the student for care with Hazel. Empowering students to give consent for themselves brings the school in compliance with Colorado state law while also expanding access.
As a district that had already heavily invested in school counselors, APS’s partnership with Hazel offered the added benefit of affordability. Hazel’s offering is significantly less expensive than hiring full-time, school-based counseling staff, and Hazel handles the recruitment, onboarding, training and retention of its mental health providers, removing these expenditures for the district.
*Colorado state law allows minors 12 years and older to provide consent for therapy services. Therapists must use clinical judgment to confirm the minor’s capacity and medical necessity of services. State law in reference: Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-245-203.5.