RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — UTRGV School of Medicine has expanded their free mental health program to nine school districts.
Through the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine (TCHATT) program, UTRGV’s School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry will be providing up to four appointments per student as in-school telehealth sessions, according to a press release by UTRGV.
The sessions will be free of charge and will be accessible to approximately 37,000 students.
The sessions will be available to students from grades K – 12 in 48 different schools from the Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Hidalgo, Rio Hondo, La Joya, Lasara, McAllen and United school districts, as well as the Jubilee Academies in Harlingen and Brownsville.
Dr. Alcides Amador, medical director for UTRGV’s arm of the TCHATT program, knows the struggles of accessing mental healthcare on a personal level.
“My brother has Autism, and growing up, I’ve always been aware that there aren’t enough clinicians for children,” said Amador in the release. “It can be difficult. Sometimes, you have to wait months to see a mental health provider.”
Amador works as an assistant professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry with the UTRGV School of Medicine.
“We have gotten feedback that the telehealth appointments are a good thing for the patients,” Amador said in the release. “It feels really great to be a part of that outreach.”
UTRGV first offered telehealth services to students in the Brownsville school district through a partnership with Texas Child Mental Health Care Consortium, according to the release.
The partnership, which included TCHATT, were originally funded for two years, beginning in 2019. The program was now funded through 2024 to provide the services to the expanded network of school districts.