HHH Alumni Create App to Improve Mental Health

Two Half Hollow Hills graduates have developed an app dealing with mental health issues, and are piloting it for free with students in the district.

Counslr is a text-based app to provide support for mental health resources,  such as sessions with mental health professionals.

 Students at the two high schools will have full access to the Counslr platform, and will be able to hold unlimited sessions with Counslr’s live, licensed, and vetted mental health support professionals.

“We are pleased to be able to work with our alma mater, and a community that gave us such strong foundations for becoming the people we are today,” said Josh Liss, CEO of Counslr and a member of the Class of 2013.

“We are proud to be helping HHH address the growing need for mental health resources and ultimately be part of the solution,” he said. “Our data shows that most students (83%) who begin using Counslr had never previously engaged with school mental health resources. This is a highly indicative datapoint, and thus we look forward to helping Half Hollow Hills reach these under-addressed students.”

Liss and Counslr COO Tyler Fisher met nearly two decades ago at Half Hollow Hills’ West Hollow Middle School.

In 2019, Liss and Fisher began to create Counslr, aiming to provide support that was accessible, affordable and convenient.They say that, through partnerships, they’ve overcome many cost and insurance burdens.

“Academic pressures, omnipresent social media, and concerning world events all contribute to heightened stress levels and mental health challenges among adolescents, while provider shortages continue to impact an already strained mental health support system,” Fisher said.

“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.” Fisher said. “We are thrilled to help meet the demand at high schools and colleges across the country, but it’s a particular honor to be working with our own school district. We want to empower all students to take preventative steps and better prioritize their mental well-being, and it’s extremely satisfying to know that many of those students are now friends, families, and other members of the community where we grew up.”

Users can access support on-demand within two minutes of opening the app, or by scheduled appointment. Through real-time texting, users can have one-on-one, private communication with a licensed counselor.

“Tyler Fisher and Josh Liss were great students in high school! I had no idea what path in life each would take, but I am glad their pursuits led them back to HHH,” said Dr. Jeffery Woodberry, Assistant Superintendent for Districtwide Administration in Half Hollow Hills. “As their former principal, I am proud to have played a small role in their development and I am excited to partner with them in this endeavor to provide mental health resources for our students. It is crucial to support mental wellness in young people and we are pleased to provide Counslr as another avenue.”

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