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New Program Gives Texas Students Access to Virtual Behavioral Health Services

Analysis  |  By Eric Wicklund  
   May 30, 2023

A partnership between the University of Texas and telehealth provider MDLIVE will give roughly 11,200 students between 10 and 18 on-demand access to psychiatricts or therapists through a telehealth platform at school, an mHealth app, or a phone call.

Close to a dozen school districts in Texas will have access to virtual behavioral health services for their students through a partnership between the University of Texas and telehealth company MDLIVE.

The new program will offer some 11,200 students between the ages of 10 and 18 on-demand virtual access to MDLIVE licensed psychiatrists or therapists, either from a dedicated telehealth platform at the school or through an mHealth app or phone call. Students can also request a provider that aligns with their gender and ethnicity.

The program seeks to address the growing behavioral health crisis in schools, with schools struggling to find the healthcare resources needed to treat students and students facing barriers to accessing those care options.

The pandemic exacerbated that crisis, making it even harder for students to get in front of care providers. According to research by MDLIVE parent company Evernorth, there has been a 14% increase in suicide-related diagnoses in children and adolescents since the start of the pandemic, accounting for 35% of all patients with these health concerns.

This program was developed by the University of Texas at Austin's Institute for Public School Initiatives (IPSI), and is supported by a US Department of Education grant.

“This initiative will help address the alarming rise in mental health issues among young people today and provide essential resources to students who would otherwise have limited access to quality mental healthcare," Matt Orem IPSI's associate director, said in a press release. "It was not only the size and quality of MDLIVE’s network of providers and suite of behavioral health services that led us to choose them as our partner, but also the flexibility of their care delivery platform to meet the unique needs of this program.”

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation at HealthLeaders.


Schools across the nation are inundated with students needing better access to behavioral health services, and they lack on-site resources to meet that need.

The crisis is seen in sharply rising numbers of students struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions and substance abuse, as well as school-related violence.

A new program in Texas will enable students in close to a dozen school districts to access a psychiatrist or therapist on demand via a telehealth platform in school or through an app or their phone.

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