General Assembly Announces $3M Pilot Mental Health Program for Schools

(PENNSYLVANIA) – Pennsylvania General Assembly members from both chambers and both parties today heralded the introduction of a mental health pilot program for public schools across the commonwealth. 

The web based counseling program by Kooth US was awarded a grant through the Department of Human Services that enables school districts to opt into the services without cost to students, parents or the district. The grant was funded in the FY 2022-23 state budget in acknowledgement of the mental health crisis currently being faced by young people. 

According to CDC data:

  • Of American youths aged 12-17, 1 in 3 have persistent feelings of sadness
  • 4 in 10 have issues that are going untreated
  • 1 in 6 have made a suicide plan

“We are keenly aware of the need for additional mental health programs and resources across our communities, but especially in our schools,” said Senator Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne). “The disruptive impact of the pandemic exacerbated the fears and concerns felt by children.  Although we have made notable progress on increasing the state’s commitment toward accessible mental health services, much remains to be done.  This pilot project has the potential to fill some crucial gaps.  I am pleased to see that several school districts in northeastern Pennsylvania will be participating.  Our constituents will be encouraged to see constructive action on problem-solving that has bipartisan support.”

Kooth has already been introduced to four districts in the Commonwealth, with more to soon follow. Districts currently enrolled in the service include:

  • Wyoming Area 
  • Scranton 
  • Oswayo Valley 
  • Wyoming Valley West

“Every child who calls this commonwealth home deserves the mental healthcare they need to rebound from the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic and enjoy a beautiful, happy life here,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jay Costa (D-Allegheny). “I’m proud of the work the Democratic caucus has done to deliver mental health funding to our public schools, and I’m proud today to support the implementation of Kooth US to continue this vital work. As our young people seek healing and support from two years of massive disruptions and social upheaval, I am glad services like Kooth exist to supply trained mental health resources to our students.” 

“House Republicans made it a priority in this year’s budget to fund mental health programs for students across the state. We believe that this pilot creates additional access for students statewide to access mental health services,” said House Speaker Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster). “Students should never suffer from treatable or preventable challenges because of a lack of resources. We applaud private sector efforts like this to create platforms that have the potential to save lives.”

“This year the legislature and governor made a historic investment in student mental health, and I’m proud that Scranton students are going to benefit with access to this new app to provide them with an anonymous, immediate connection to professional help and supports to meet their immediate and long-term needs at no cost to our local taxpayers,” said Representative Thom Welby (D-Lackawanna).

Kooth’s innovative digital mental health and wellbeing platform has been designed to offer choice and encourage users to engage and seek help on their own terms. The service includes self help content, anonymous safe, moderated forums, journaling, goal setting, and therapeutic activities. 

“Young people are experiencing mental health problems at a rate we have never seen before and at a time of provider shortage,” said Kooth US General Manager Kevin Winters. “At Kooth, we knew we needed a different approach and that’s why we’ve focused on prevention in an accessible format able to reach a younger generation. We are thrilled to partner with Pennsylvania on this pilot program and look forward to seeing its success in many, many school districts.”

School districts that would like to opt in to the no cost Kooth’s program can request more information by emailing or go to


Media Contact: Kate Flessner 717-787-7428

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