RALEIGH, N.C. (WAVY) — The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) has launched a new mental and behavioral health training and consultation program for 130 public schools across the state.

The program, provided through the North Carolina Psychiatry Access Line (NC-PAL), is designed to support K-12 school staff in helping students who may be dealing with mental and behavioral health concerns. The program is free to local schools as part of the NCDHHS StrongSchoolsNC COVID-19 Testing Program.

“The North Carolina Psychiatry Access Line expands access to mental health care for children in a dramatic way. Now, staff in 130 schools will have direct access to psychiatric experts who can help them better support our students,” said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley.

Since 2019, NC-PAL has provided consultation to primary care providers on children’s psychiatric conditions and trainings on children’s mental health. School administrators and counselors will now have access to child psychiatry experts who will provide consultation and training based on the behavioral health concerns each team is encountering in their school.

The 130 public schools invited to participate in the NC-PAL program were chosen based on their indicated preferences and to maximize access to the program with statewide geographical representation and for communities with high needs.

To be eligible for the program, schools must provide free COVID-19 testing to students.

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