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PAUSD newly partners with tbh to improve access to student mental health services, on-demand support

Kate Xia

To offer free resources to students who need mental health support, Palo Alto Unified School District has partnered with “tbh,” an online mental health service provider.

Tbh offers a variety of resources to students, including virtual one-on-one sessions, personalized therapist-led support groups, real time messaging support and an interactive mental health resources library.

Students can access these mental health resources anytime by clicking the tbh icon in their PAUSD ID portal.

PAUSD Director of Mental Health and Wellness Dawn Yoshinaga said an increased need for mental health services in the district led to the district’s partnership with tbh. 

“(The implementation of) tbh in our district stemmed from a deep concern for the mental health and well-being of our students (because) mental health issues among students have been on the rise,” Yoshinaga said. “Tbh offers students a unique blend of convenience, accessibility and personalized care that complements the existing resources.”

Tbh’s Head of Student and Partner Success Drew Englander said the company has seen an increase in users during the past month and said contributing factors may include college applications and the conflict in the Middle East.

“We recognize there’s a lot of stress in this world and (want) to make it easy for a student to say, ‘This conflict (is) stressing me out,’ or ‘College applications are stressing me out,’” Englander said. “Getting support during that time of need is why (we’re here) for students.”

Englander said tbh aims to make mental health resources available to students when they want it.

“Our whole mission is to make mental health accessible to everyone, especially in Palo Alto and all the districts we work with,” Englander said. “We believe that mental health is for everyone, and everyone should have access and the right to go along their own mental health journey.”

Englander also said online sessions provide resources that are unavailable at the Wellness Center.

“Virtual (sessions) often lower that barrier of care for a lot of students because they’re able to do it in the comfort of their own home,” Englander said. “(Students are) able to sit, be in their safe space and open up a little bit more. It also allows them to book all sorts of crazy hours.” 

Despite the personalized resources, Englander said the stigma surrounding mental health sometimes prevents students from reaching out for help, something the company is actively trying to reduce.

“We’re always here to support you and help you take that (first) step because there’s so much stigma and conversation around (mental health) that people are always afraid to (get help),” Englander said.

According to Englander, making the initial step to reach out can be the hardest part for students.

“There are a lot of people out there who may not even know what mental health is, and they may not understand what tbh is, or what going along a mental journey looks like,” Englander said. “But reach out to see what we have to offer.”

And Yoshinaga said tbh has a wide variety of resources for students to get the help they need. 

“We’re really excited to introduce this amazing opportunity for middle and high school students,” Yoshinaga said. “Our goal is to make sure you get the help you need, exactly when you need it, all in a way that works best for your preferences and unique situation.”

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Luca Vostrejs, Staff Writer
Kate Xia, Lifestyle & Science/Tech Editor
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