Providence Teams up with Renton Public Schools to Strengthen Student Access to Mental Health Services

Renton, Wash. Oct. 9, 2023 As part of its ongoing commitment to improve Washington youth's mental health and well-being, Providence announced plans to fund the Renton School District's student mental health services over the next three years. 

Funding comes from Providence’s Well Being Trust and it will enable the district to strengthen its mental health support efforts by offering every child in all 27  Renton Public Schools access to virtual therapy through a national school-based telehealth provider. 

"We are incredibly proud of this partnership initiative, "said Arpan Waghray, M.D., CEO, Providence’s Well Being Trust. Our youth's future success is partly driven by the quality of their health and wellness today. Providence and the district are focused on establishing short- and long-term mental wellness practices by creating an academic environment where students can prioritize their health and develop lifelong coping and well-being practices to support them for years to come." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that 22% of the nation's high school students seriously considered suicide. And locally, King County students face a variety of mental health issues. According to Washington State's Healthy Youth Survey more than a third of the county's 8th, 10th and 12th-graders demonstrated symptoms of depression in 2021. 

Victoria Blakeney, director of student support for the Renton School District, said "As a community, we are working to address the social, emotional and mental health needs of our students, and this partnership along with the new virtual therapy service expands access for all of them, filling a key gap in a comprehensive mental health support system." 

Th funding gives the Department of Learning and Teaching, which administers mental health services for the school system, the ability to make virtual therapy services available to all grade levels, Pre-K through 12th-grade. Parents and educators may refer students for sessions at home or on campus during school hours as needed.  

Given the diversity of students in Renton Public Schools, the district is committed to ensuring that students are paired with diverse, bilingual mental health professionals who can provide high-quality care that meets each child's specific needs. Virtual therapy also includes: 

  • Scheduled therapy appointments to help students cope with their feelings and manage various behavioral health challenges. 

  • Licensed therapists who specialize in care for young children and adolescents of all backgrounds.  

  • Care coordination that connects students and families to local resources. 

  • Convenient support at home or on campus, using a mobile device over live video in a private room.  

In January, Providence and the Seattle Sounders FCunveiled their unprecedented community partnership to address the mental health crisis plaguing Washington youth. The organizations pledged to identify ways to eliminate barriers that prevent youngsters from living their healthiest lives. Since that time, both organizations have hosted several youth programs with the Renton School District, including the Sounders opening day celebration at Benson Hill Elementary School. 

To learn more about student virtual therapy at Renton Public Schools, check out this video or visit Rentonschools.us 

About Providence 

Providence is a national, not-for-profit Catholic health system comprising a diverse family of organizations and driven by a belief that health is a human right. With 51 hospitals, 1,085 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing, and much other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 120,000 caregivers serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, with system offices in Renton, Wash., and Irvine, Calif. Learn about our vision of health for a better world at Providence.org. 

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