New Directions offers a new mental health program for high school students

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- New Directions Behavioral Health today announced the launch of WellConnect Teens, a student assistance program for high school students. Now available nationally for the upcoming 2020-2021 school year, the program offers students access to short-term online therapy, web and mobile-based self-management tools and student/life resources through a dedicated teen line.

WellConnect Teens provides a safe and confidential way for students to get help when they need it most - at no cost to them. The program can help students learn healthy habits, cope and face challenges like relationship issues, academic performance, anxiety, depression, substance use, bullying, trouble sleeping and more.

"Research shows that one in five kids ages 13 to 18 live with a mental health condition. And most of them aren't getting adequate treatment or any help at all," said Andrea Auxier, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and chief commercial officer at New Directions. "If we can help high school students feel that they have a safe outlet and resources available to them, it could prevent mental health issues and worsening symptoms down the road."

The effects of COVID-19 are impacting students' mental health as well, adding new stressors like adjusting to virtual learning, feeling uncertain about sports and college, limited social interactions and job opportunities, and the reality that their parents may be facing unemployment. Due to the pandemic, student access to mental health resources has become increasingly critical to their well-being.

The program helps teachers too - a dedicated Faculty and Administrator Support Team (FAST) hotline is available 24/7/365 for administrators and staff members to talk with a clinical consultant about how to best support students struggling inside or outside of the classroom.

"WellConnect Teens fills gaps in student support, which consequently keeps teens engaged and in school, and minimizes the strain on faculty to support non-academic issues by themselves," said Auxier.

The program is an expansion of a successful pilot program in partnership with Greenbush - The Southeast Kansas Education Service Center, an educational cooperative serving learners of all ages through partnerships with schools, communities and agencies statewide.

"WellConnect delivered exactly what school districts are after, which is convenient and accessible emotional support for their students," said Dr. Ryan Vaughn, director of Specialized Learning Services at Greenbush. "Many students don't get the help they need simply because they don't have easy access to support. During the pilot program, we found that over 60% of the students who registered for online therapy - to address things like anxiety and depression - had not participated in therapy of any kind before."

WellConnect Teens services are available to eligible students ages 13 and older at participating high schools; online therapy for minors requires parental consent. Schools and districts interested in offering WellConnect Teens to their student population can contact to learn more.

About New Directions Behavioral Health

For more than 25 years, New Directions has helped people live healthy, balanced lives. The healthcare company provides managed behavioral health services, an Employee Assistance Program, Student Well-Being Programs, organizational consulting and coaching to private and public health plans, Fortune 100 companies, large and medium employers and labor groups. New Directions is one of the fastest-growing behavioral healthcare companies in the industry, more than doubling its membership in the last five years to include over 16 million members.

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SOURCE New Directions Behavioral Health