School-Based TeleBehavioral Health

Our commitment to keeping you safe

We have never taken for granted the sacred trust you place in us to care for your child, and today we are more grateful than ever for that privilege. To learn about all the ways we are working to keep you, your family and our team members safe, visit our COVID-19 updates page.

School-Based TeleBehavioral Health

Pediatric virtual behavioral health services

Our School-Based TeleBehavioral Health Program uses the latest health care technology to connect your child with the care they need to manage stress and emotions.

Many children and teens struggle with stress and emotional situations, which often take place at school. Our School-Based Telebehavioral Health Program helps school counselors support children’s mental and emotional health needs.

Since launching in schools in 2017, we have provided access to school-based telebehavioral health services to over 100,000 students in 200+ schools. Each year, we perform over 1,000 virtual therapy sessions.

To find out if your school is participating in Children's Health℠ School-Based TeleBehavioral Health, ask your school counselor or call 844-856-6926.

Problems We Help Manage

  • Adjustment disorders
  • Attitude problems
  • Behavioral difficulties
  • Bereavement
  • Bullying
  • Coping skills
  • Decision-making
  • Expression of feelings
  • Frustration tolerance
  • Healthy relationships
  • Improved social skills
  • Sleep problems
  • Social Skills

WATCHthe video

Trusted behavioral health care, right at your school

Program Success

Since our School-Based TeleBehavioral Health Program started in 2017, we've:

  • Provided access to School-Based TeleBehavioral Health services to nearly 218,000 students
  • Expanded into 250 campuses within 34 school districts
  • Performed over 5,200 behavioral health virtual visits
  • Conducted over 11,600 telephonic case management contacts

Benefits of school-based telebehavioral health

Through this program, we can meet your child where they are – both physically and emotionally. This approach offers many benefits.

Affordable, early access to care

Your child can access sessions at no cost to their school district or your family. Students at school districts receiving state funding for telebehavioral health get four sessions. Students at districts receiving philanthropic support have access to 16 sessions.

Our telebehavioral health program helps engage children in their behavioral health at an earlier age, since we are in their school with them. Our program also helps us identify kids who need a higher level of behavioral health care. That way, students don’t have to struggle with complicated emotions well into high school before gaining the tools they need to navigate challenges.

Our program may also help fill a gap in psychiatric and psychological care in your community. When your child works with our telebehavioral health program, they are tapping into a whole network of care that they may otherwise not have access to.

Building a supportive community of trust

We know that helping children often takes a village. Our program goes beyond your child’s virtual therapy sessions and offers support through:

  • Behavioral health care managers. Our care managers are each assigned to specific school districts, developing relationships with the families and counselors they work with. They help answer any questions or discuss concerns with you and your child.
  • Teachers, administrators and staff at your child’s school. We can help train the adults at your child’s school to recognize what struggling looks like in a student. We’ll also give the school counselor a general overview of your child’s progress without sharing sensitive information. Your child’s school will be on the same page about your child’s needs.
  • Your child’s care team. Children’s Health providers will update your child’s medical record. That way, your child’s whole care team can remain in the loop on all aspects of your child’s health. In some instances, we can update your child’s care team. In others, we can provide you with the record to share with them.
  • You. We know how much your child means to you and we want to work with you. If a parent you know recommends a therapist in our program, we can ensure your child gets paired with that therapist. We can also work with the behavioral health provider at your home clinic, if that makes it easier for you to centralize your child’s care.

Built to be easy for parents and guardians

We need your permission for your child to use this service. We also want to keep you in the loop about your child’s care. We’ll offer parenting solutions to support your child’s mental health at home and provide you with consistent updates.

Parents and guardians can also join the session from work or home. In most cases, you don’t need to leave work, and your child doesn’t need to leave school. Through the program, you can also sign a digital consent form and access ongoing follow-up care to ensure that your child makes progress.

We also use this program to connect students to a network of care by:

  • Keeping their medical record updated based on their sessions
  • Getting releases to talk to their providers if need be, so their care team can stay on the same page about your child’s wellness
  • Referring your child to psychiatric or psychological support in their area, should they need it

Creating a comfortable care environment

Your child’s sessions offer short-term counseling focused on solutions to their emotional struggles. School is already a familiar and trusted environment for your child. Offering telebehavioral health at your child’s school means they can better relax and trust the counseling process. This can help students open up to their providers and engage with their care.

Kids today are comfortable with technology. They use it to relate to and communicate with one another every day, so it can make kids feel safe in a therapy context.

Technology can also give your child a sense of control over their environment. Having control over how much of their face is visible during those tougher conversations can empower your child in a positive way, especially during tough conversations.

Finding the right care for your child

Telebehavioral health is a wonderful resource. But it may not be for everyone. Children who may need a higher level of care than what telebehavioral health can offer include those:

  • Experiencing hallucinations
  • Needing a provider who can prescribe medications for their behavioral health
  • Whose safety is compromised by their mental health
  • Whose mental health compromises the safety of those around them
  • Under the age of 8

Even if your child won’t benefit from telebehavioral health sessions, we can still help. For the children who fit this category (and their families), we will:

  • Offer parenting tips and strategies
  • Help find clinical resources in your community and follow up to ensure you get connected to those resources
  • Refer your child to one of the two in-patient behavioral health facilities we have relationships with

If your child changes schools, we will help connect them with whatever provider is delivering mental health support to that region. Even if you are moving somewhere that we are not serving with our telebehavioral health program, we can help find your child a provider that works for them.

Our approach to care

Our sessions are 30 minutes long. They focus on solutions-based care and are rooted in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). These approaches work best for short-term care. CBT identifies unhelpful thought patterns or behaviors and helps your child come up with new ways to cope that are more productive. Our providers will spend each session working with your child to identify areas where they are struggling and help give them those coping skills for the specific issues they are facing.

In a session, your child can expect their counselor to ask them about:

  • School
  • Their family environment
  • Peer relationships

Based on those situations, your child’s counselor will work with your child to set goals and make a plan to tackle these issues.

Discretion, privacy and safety

We use a secure, confidential virtual platform that is widely used by many telehealth companies, which means it comes with many security measures already programmed into it.

But privacy and safety are our top priorities before we even enter a school. We make sure each school we work with has a safe and confidential space for students to use for their sessions with us. Ideally, the school has a space that an adult can walk by and look in to make sure your child is safe, but their conversation cannot be overheard.

TCHATT is funded and administered by the Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium

Children's Health and UTSouthwestern logos Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium logo

Meet the Care Team

  • Sabrina Browne, MD Pediatric Psychiatrist
  • Mili Khandheria, MD Pediatric Psychiatrist
  • Katherine Bahcall, LPC
    Katherine Bahcall, LPC Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Ana  Bermudez
    Ana Bermudez Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Esmirna  Corona, LCSW
    Esmirna Corona, LCSW Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Ambar Fuentes, LPC
    Ambar Fuentes, LPC Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Kelly Merendon, LPC
    Kelly Merendon, LPC Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Rosanna Sanchez, LPC
    Rosanna Sanchez, LPC Behavioral Health Care Manager
  • Vanessa Simpson, LCSW
    Vanessa Simpson, LCSW Behavioral Health Care Manager