U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Doctor on screen observing a patient in an emergency department.

Telehealth for school-based services

Behavioral health appointments

School-based behavioral health care can help students who would not have access to behavioral health services otherwise. This can be due to:

  • Absence of a behavioral health provider in the area
  • Parents or guardians do not always recognize that their children are having trouble.

Behavioral health school-based telehealth benefits

  • School-based telehealth makes regular appointments needed for behavioral health care possible.
  • Teachers may notice behavior at school that parents or guardians may not see and recommend a telehealth appointment.
  • Students can address behaviors in school-based telehealth appointments that could otherwise result in detention or disciplinary action.
  • Students have almost immediate access to behavioral health care in a crisis, like threatening suicide.
    • Behavioral health providers and counselors are trained to recognize symptoms of suicidal thoughts and addiction. The sooner a health care provider or counselor helps, the more likely the patient will receive the care they need.
  • Health care providers and counselors can suggest different treatments or recommend a specialist to help.
  • School-based behavioral health appointments are private. Most people, including other students and teachers, will not know that patients are having a behavioral health appointment or some other type of telehealth appointment.

Learn how providers can use telehealth to improve access to mental health care for their patients.

Additional Resources:


Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance

Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance (BRTA) is a non-profit telehealth network serving a rural population in Eastern Virginia. Access to behavioral health services is the top priority of the schools they work with. Before partnering with BRTA, the students did not have easy access to behavioral health as the nearest health care providers providing these services could be over 100 miles away.

BRTA learned two key lessons during the setup of their school-based telehealth program. First, “management of information is critical” to quickly determine if parents or guardians gave consent for school-based telehealth at the time of school enrollment. Second, the parents or guardians should be in direct contact with the health care provider's office. This made the billing process easier. In addition, parents and guardians gained access to the patient’s Electronic Health Record patient portal by working directly with the health care provider's office.

Because of the success of their school-based telehealth program, funding the program long term is a priority for BRTA. BRTA has become an advocate for school-based telehealth in the state of Virginia.

Read more about the Bay Rivers Telehealth Alliance.