Los Angeles County to offer free mental telehealth services for 1.3 million public school students 

A partnership between Los Angeles County, L.A. Care Health Plan and Centene's Health Net will soon offer free mental telehealth services to 1.3 million public school students.

The new program is supported by school-based telehealth company Hazel Health and is optional for all local districts, according to a Feb. 2 news release shared with Becker's.

Los Angeles Unified School District and Compton Unified School District are the first to say they will utilize the new service. L.A. Care, the nation's largest publicly operated health plan, and Health Net are investing up to $24 million to cover the new service for all participants over two years.

The program will deploy in a phased approach and districts can learn about the new service at upcoming information sessions in February.

The service comes at a time when student mental health has become a priority for educators, legislators and global organizations. More than 78 percent of high school teachers nationwide reported having been approached by a child for assistance with mental health issues, according to a survey published Sept. 8 by CVS Health.

The Los Angeles County program follows the launch of programs in New York, North Carolina and Texas, which have pioneered resource programs for students that include mental health and wellness programs, along with in-school clinics.

Congress also approved legislation in December requiring the federal government to develop behavioral health intervention strategies for schools.

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