FUHSD mental health opportunities


Photo courtesy of Physicians Practice

In response to the relative declining mental health of students, the Fremont Union High School District has been working on providing different resources available to students. One of these resources includes Care Solace, a company that the district has partnered with since last school year. Care Solace is a website where students, or any members of the FUHSD community, can connect with mental health providers in our community and work together to find help, free of charge, for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 

“It could be students, but probably mostly families, [who] are looking for mental health services,” Associate Superintendent Trudy Gross said. “It can be really hard to go through the [process of] calling different people and having them call you back and all that type of different things. So what Care Solace does is they gather general information about the kind of service [needed] and it is in the behavioral health realm.” 

This is part of a recent effort that the district has made to provide resources for students. They understand that often, it is difficult for students to admit they need help, and if they do, they might not know where to go. 

The district has worked with students from the mental health committee of the Intra-District Council (a group of students from all five FUHSD campuses who plan district events and essentially act as a liaison between district officials and students) to try to find more resources. The students from the IDC were already working on ways to increase and destigmatize students getting help (for example, looking into the district providing some resources where students could text a therapist). This included going out into the community and interviewing school-based therapists to try to figure out what way was the best to support students as well as the surrounding community. 

“[The IDC] talked to students,” Gross said. “And then they brought that feedback back to talk to me about what we could do. One of those things was having therapy available outside of school, and that’s where I said, let me tell you about Care Solace.”

Largely, the issue currently is that many students are not aware of the resource, even though the district has been working with them for about a year.  

“I think the biggest thing is, there’s just a lot of stigma about going in and getting help.,” Antara Chugh, Fremont senior, student board representative and member of the IDC, said. “ I think that’s very scary, [for someone to say that they] need the help.” 

From October 2020 to June 2021, when the district first launched the partnership with Care Solace, they reported 28 “appointments into care,” which refers to when someone who uses the website to get into contact with a therapist completes an appointment with them. This school year, that number has increased to 82 “appointments into care.” The district hopes this number will continue to increase as students and community members decide they want to try to find help. 

Ultimately, this resource will be available to all students, regardless of time commitment, previous knowledge of existing resources or socioeconomic status. 

“It’s very complicated to find help otherwise,” Chugh said. “[Care Solace] completely takes care of everything for you, like if you don’t have insurance, we’ll figure out which way it’ll be covered for you, if you don’t, they’ll cover it for you.”

The district is able to provide this resource through what Gross calls “COVID money,” which is extra money the district is provided to help prevent damage that COVID-19 may have caused. It is generally believed that the pandemic harmed the community’s mental health, so doing something to combat that was a priority of the district. 

What the money pays for is a “care concierge,” or a person who can be contacted through Care Solace that can help the user figure out what kind of service that they are looking for. 

Throughout the existing appointments “into care,” 83%of them have been among 12-17 year olds. This is a resource high school students have been using, and could continue to use if they feel they need it. Common mental health diagnoses that Care Solace has helped with include anxiety (57%), depression (53%) and trauma (12%). 

 For any students or FUHSD community members struggling with their mental health or looking for help, Care Solace can be accessed through the link caresolace.com/fuhsd or on fuhsd.org, then the “Students” tab, then “Mental Health Resources” on the left side, then the “Care Solace” tab. 

Once the link is accessed, users will be taken through a questionnaire regarding their mental status: including severity, history of therapy among other things. 

Hopefully, anyone who needs this resource will be able to use it.