TTUHSC aiming to set the standard for school mental healthcare w

TTUHSC aiming to set the standard for school mental healthcare with TWITR Project

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is helping take the lead in mental health support across the state. 

Its Telemedicine, Wellness, Intervention, Triage and Referral (TWITR) Project implements care across West Texas school districts to treat troubled teens anytime, anywhere. 

Nearly one in three Texas high school students struggle with some form of mental illness, according to the Office of Adolescent Health.

This is why Dr. Billy Philips, along with others at TTUHSC, said he helped create the TWITR Project.

"I think what we did was that we created a culture within the schools where we worked of safety, security around the ideas of promoting better mental health," Dr. Philips said. 

He said the goal is to expand the digital component for interactive mental healthcare.

In doing this, the next step is to create echo communities where students can have instant access with teachers and counselors about their struggles. 

"It promotes the idea that civility and mental health issues are okay to talk about, just like any others. We have schools that are supportive of each other, and the kids are supportive of each other. I think it's going to be a very positive outcome," Dr. Philips said.

He said this is especially vital because of the shortage of care in rural school districts.

"This application in the schools will help those kids that by happenstance have some mental health issue, but happen to live in a tiny town with not too many resources. Well now their school has those resources," Dr. Philips said.

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