April 22, 2024

HHH Alumni Create Mental Health App

The Half Hollow Hills School District has introduced Counslr, an app dedicated to assisting individuals, especially high school students, with mental health support. Counslr allows students to “have a best friend in their pocket, who happens to be a licensed counselor.” The app is currently free for all High School East and West students. 

This support includes empathizing, reflective listening, sharing coping strategies, and more. Students at both High School West and East can text a licensed mental health professional at any given time throughout the day in a confidential, convenient, and comfortable manner. The app uses algorithmic intelligent matching to match users with counselors and provides many mental health resources available to all students. 

Counslr will be a completely free and confidential resource available to all students, which can help eliminate challenges such as cost, inconvenience, or stigma regarding mental health. Students are required to fill out a parental consent form to register for the app, which can be found on the Canvas home page. 

The mental health app Counslr was created by Half Hollow Hills alumni Josh Liss and Tyler Fisher, former students who graduated from High School East. In a recent article by the Counslr Team, Fisher states that “the need for a platform like Counslr has already been there for years, and that need has only risen since the start of the pandemic… We want to empower all students to take preventative steps and better prioritize their mental well-being.”  

As students who attended a high school in the Half Hollow Hills school district, it can be presumed that the alumni also experienced some form of stress throughout their high school years that affected their mental health. The Counslr app will allow students, especially from their community, to have an outlet to express themselves adequately. 

Whether it’s stressing about an upcoming exam, SAT/ACT scores, college decisions, social media, APs, and more, students at High School West have been feeling extremely stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed. It is very often, these students disregard their mental health in an attempt to achieve a good grade. “As a junior in high school, I feel an increasing amount of stress, especially from tests,” stated student Dhruti Upadiyay. “Tests stress me out a lot because they often come with pressure to perform well and meet expectations.” Additionally, an anonymous student enrolled in AP Research said, “my class has been really taking a toll on me, as I am currently doing a lot of work such as sending surveys outside of school.” 

For many years now, there has been a stigma towards mental health that has affected high school student’s ability to reach out for help when they need it. This stigma has been caused for several reasons, such as a lack of understanding or inaccurate media representations of mental illness. Implementing the Counslr app will hopefully allow students to feel more willing to communicate their emotions with the comfort of confidentiality and support the app offers. 

The school district currently provides various mental health resources for students other than the Counslr app, such as P.S. I Love You Day, the Northwell Health Behavioral Health Center located in Commack, or the presence of the school’s guidance counselors and psychologists. However, some students in the school feel as though they “don’t feel completely comfortable with the mental health resources the school provides because they don’t have an emphasis on mental health, more just help with school.” 

The Counselor App provides a sense of anonymity, hopefully allowing high school students to connect with licensed mental health professionals if they don’t feel as comfortable with the ones available at the schools.