A Little Help from Hazel

Students now have a new way to access mental health resources — and it’s free.

In its new partnership with Hazel, FCPS is giving students access to the program’s free teletherapy sessions. These sessions are with licensed therapists trained to help students from kindergarten through 12th grade. 

To start using the program, students need to be opted in.

“Parents can log into their ParentVue and Student Information System (SIS) and click a button that says ‘yes, I agree to share the demographic information with Hazel,’” Kirtner said. “If a student can’t get into the parent view, or for whatever reason it is not accessible, we have a paper copy that we can give to a student and parent.”

Kirtner urges all students to opt-in to the program for when they may need it. She said the convenience of Hazel is in part why it is so unique and beneficial for students. 

“Right now, if you go out in the community and you try to meet with a mental health counselor, it’s weeks, months or no availability at all.” Kirtner said.

Sophomore Simran Allana said she is excited about FCPS’s effort and the new Hazel program, but worries about the requirement to opt-in to the program.

“The fact that guardians have to opt-in for their student can make it more difficult for someone to reach out and ask for help,” Allana said. 

Allana said she recognizes the hardships of going through high school and the toll it can take on a student’s mental health. 

“High school can be a very difficult place to navigate and providing resources that students are able to turn to is a really helpful way for us to manage stress and anxiety,” Allana said. 

She said she appreciates that the county recognizes students’ mental health, but wishes they made mental health resources more well known and easier to access. Counselor Kirtner said that there has already been a response to the new program. 

“We’ve had a lot of parents doing the opt-in process,” Kirtner said. “We’ve already submitted referrals.”

Kirtner said she is excited for the future of this program at Marshall.

“I think once students start hearing about this, and parents also are kind of in support of the service,” Kirtner said, “it will kind of snowball in a positive direction.”