The quiet calm of rural Orleans, Indiana belies the reality that the state has one of the highest rates in the nation of teens considering suicide, which is the second leading cause of death for Hoosier teens.1 But by offering telehealth therapy sessions to its junior high and high school students, the Orleans school district now has a proactive approach to mental health that will create positive outcomes in the long run.
A pilot program developed by Indiana University Health and CareSource is using technology to bridge the gap so students can get the counseling they need.
“We chose to partner with IU Health and CareSource as a way to offer high-quality, affordable and timely mental health care to our students,” says Chris Stevens, Ed.D., principal of Orleans Junior and Senior High School. “We believe this program will help students not only survive their junior high and high school years, but also thrive during those years.”
The new program, which allows students to meet with licensed providers from IU Health at their school in a private room using secure video conferencing tools, will be closely monitored to determine if an even wider rollout is possible. Grades, disciplinary records, missed school days and reduced depression and anxiety will be tracked. Already, school officials have noted a decrease in behavioral complaints.
“Together with our partners, we can fundamentally change the way children access mental health providers while at school,” says Steve Smitherman, President of the Indiana Market for CareSource. “Increasing access to care in rural areas is one of CareSource’s top priorities, and we are proud to support this innovative program.”