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Presence Bridges Counseling Gap for School Districts with New Online Service

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SAN FRANCISCO, June 23, 2014 – Eighty percent of students in need of mental health services do not receive them due to a lack of resources1. The cost of this status quo is high: without counseling, these students suffer academically, socially and emotionally. To expand school districts’ access to licensed mental health professionals, including counselors and social workers, and to overcome the high caseloads that limit individual attention to children in need, PresenceLearning is now providing live, online counseling services.

“Online counseling is powerful in that it doesn’t just solve problems of access or allow for scheduling flexibility. It does all of that while enabling schools to match students with the right counselor for their needs,” said Dr. A. Jordan Wright, a clinical psychologist and head of the Human Development department at Empire State College, State University of New York (SUNY). “A child may need a behavior interventionist or an emotion regulation interventionist. Alternatively, that child may need a cognitive-behavioral therapist or someone with specific skills in eating disorders or substance abuse. No counselor is completely skilled in treating every single one of those problems.”

“Children go to school to learn, but they cannot effectively learn if they are suffering on a social or emotional level, or if their peers continually disrupt the learning environment with inappropriate behavior,” said Clay Whitehead, co-CEO and co-founder of PresenceLearning. “More and more schools are realizing that effective teaching depends on a healthy climate in the classroom, and accordingly, are investing in counseling to help ensure that students are ready to learn while in school.”
Just like in-person counseling, online therapists work with students on how to cope with feelings, reduce stress, get along with their peers and boost academic performance.

PresenceLearning’s online counseling serves students in three main areas of need:

  • Behavior Intervention and Emotional Regulation
  • Social and Life Skills Training
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Each online counselor creates a personalized therapy plan for each child and implements it via PresenceLearning’s secure videoconferencing platform, which includes a rich library of activities and interactive resources. The platform allows counselors to store notes and progress data and adheres to HIPAA and FERPA privacy regulations.

“This solution for students is long overdue. We see the costs of inadequate social, emotional and behavioral support every day in our communities, and, tragically, in headlines. There is a real mental health crisis in America, which is exacerbated by a serious shortage of qualified mental health resources in schools. This shortage derives from budget pressures and an increased need for psychological assessments, among other services,” said Whitehead. “Counseling via phone and video chat has been used for decades in the world of healthcare. It’s time we make such services available to our students. Extensive research shows that online counseling is an effective and feasible option that can help fill a large, unaddressed need.”

Since 2009, PresenceLearning’s online speech therapy and other related services have provided schools with a practical, affordable new option for service delivery: web-based access to a nationwide network of live, highly qualified, fully licensed speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists and other related services professional who are available whenever and wherever they are needed. PresenceLearning also offers online assessments for both speech and occupational therapy. By partnering with PresenceLearning, school districts can address capacity issues related to acute and chronic shortages of qualified clinicians, reduce high caseloads for onsite personnel, reduce their backlog of assessments, improve student outcomes and become more efficient. PresenceLearning also offers access to technical specialists, as well as culturally and linguistically diverse clinicians.

About PresenceLearning

PresenceLearning ( is the leading telehealth network of providers of clinical services and assessments to educational organizations. The PresenceLearning care network has provided over one million sessions of live, online speech-language therapy, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions and mental health services, diagnostic services and assessments, and early childhood services for children with special needs.


Katie Povejsil, Vice President of Marketing, PresenceLearning

Christine Allman, Public Relations for PresenceLearning

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