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Our mission: to enlighten and to entertain

The Griffin

Our mission: to enlighten and to entertain

The Griffin

Baltimore County students gain access to free virtual therapy

Baltimore+County+students+gain+access+to+free+virtual+therapy
Gboyinde Onijala

New data shows Maryland is ranked #14 for the highest number of adolescents that suffer from mental health issues, according to Mental Health America (MHA). In response, Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS) launched a free telehealth therapy service to provide students personal support for mental health.

This service is being offered through Talkspace, an online platform that provides users access to licensed therapists and psychiatrists. Students ages 13 and above and BCPS staff members are able to access the services through the BCPS Focus app. BCPS Executive Director of the Department of Social Emotional Support Kim Ferguson emphasizes the importance of this program. 

“Mental health is super important…and having someone to talk to is just as important because it makes you feel less alone. We figured this was a great option for kids and we figured we needed to provide more support for the students,” says Ferguson. 

Since the partnership was finalized in December, over 500 BCPS students have engaged with Talkspace resources. 

“The Talkspace representative is super impressed with Baltimore county…we have had over 300 students login to Talkspace and 200 students access the text therapy. I was thankful we were able to launch it right before we went out for winter break,” says Ferguson. 

The option of Talkspace is breaking the barriers that are in the way of people receiving mental health support. DHS Psychologist, Genevieve Yaeger, acknowledges that  access to therapy is not universal. Factors like insurance and cost often drive people away from getting support. 

“One of the biggest barriers to getting into therapy is insurance and finances. So by offering this as a free service, I think you are eliminating those barriers for families. I also think it helps normalize the idea of getting mental health services when you are younger,” says Yaeger. 

The steps to access Talkspace are simple: 

  1. Visit talkspace.com/bcps.
  2. Enter your preferred email and the keyword: bcps.
  3. Answer a few questions about your current mental state. 
  4. Receive your personalized program. 

The BCPS psychological department hopes for an improvement in their students’ overall wellbeing.

“I think we as a society naturally have been so focused on the physical, that we forget how intertwined mental and physical health is. If you are not able to mentally be here or present, you are not available for learning,” says Yaeger. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline — Call 800-273-8255.

Text “HOME” to 741741 for help via the Crisis Text Line.

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Cassini, Editor-in-Chief
Senior and Editor-in-Chief Gabrielle Cassini loves to bring journalism to life at Dulaney. Whether she is posting Tiktok videos for The Griffin or digging up the latest news, she never fails to let things slide. Cassini also loves frozen yogurt, is obsessed with bagels and would much rather be living at the beach right now.
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