May 14, 2024

Text-based mental health support app partners with Smoky Hill Education Center

Posted May 14, 2024 2:23 PM
Image Courtesy Counslr
Image Courtesy Counslr

Salina Post

Mental health is a hot topic in most states, but according to a national report, Kansas seems to have placed the mind at the bottom of the prioritization list.

In 2023, Mental Health America released its State of Mental Health in America report, which listed Kansas as 51st in the nation, including the District of Columbia, for access to mental health resources.

Earlier this month, the text-based mental health support app Counslr announced its partnership with the Smoky Hill Education Center to help close this gap and broaden mental health access in the state.

Counslr is a text-based mental health support application that provides unlimited access to live texting sessions with licensed professionals 24/7/365. Users can access support on-demand within two minutes of opening the app or by scheduled appointment. Through real-time texting, users enjoy one-on-one, private communication with a licensed counselor anytime, anywhere

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According to a statement by Counslr, the partnership was launched with two school districts in Kansas and will expand across the state by 2024. 

"We are excited to further bolster the investment in mental health support services offered within the community by partnering with Counslr," said Chris Moddelmog, Smoky Hill Education Center Executive Director. "This partnership ensures all members receive access to industry-leading mental health support."

The partnership launched with the Catholic Diocese of Salina and Clifton-Clyde Unified School District 224, with plans to roll out to more schools later this year.

Counslr will be available to students at the Catholic Diocese of Salina in grades 8-12 and was made possible with a grant from Salina Regional Health Foundation.

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"We are pleased to begin working with the Smoky Hill Education Center to help reach the traditionally unreachable members of school communities throughout Kansas and empower those who need help but don't seek it," said Josh Liss, CEO and co-founder of Counslr. 

Diane Mann, chief financial officer for the Smoky Hill Education Center, said Counslr reached out to them to form a partnership. 

"They [Counslr] had talked to someone at the Kansas State Department of Education, and they suggested that they reach out to the service centers because they wanted to get into the State of Kansas," Mann said. "I visited with Chris and two other staff members who work in this area, and we decided we wanted to participate with them and become partners."

Counslr was designed to help individuals deal with life's day-to-day issues, empowering individuals to address concerns while they are "small" to help ensure that they stay "small."

Moddlemog said the education center serves as a vetting process for businesses looking to partner with schools. 

"Businesses always want to work with schools," Moddelmog said. "They're [businesses] calling them and saying, 'Hey, we want to sell you this.' But that's one of the roles that the service center plays, we always want to make sure that those companies are reputable, and that they're offering a good product or a good service for our member schools."

Moddlemog said that was the case with Counslr.

"One of the things that was attractive about Counslr is that it is text-based and we know that with young people today, that's one of their preferred methods of communication," Moddelmog said. "The other thing that we liked about text-based is just about everybody has the means in their pocket. You may not be able to Zoom, but we just like the ease of use with the text-based model.

Counslr partners with organizations of all shapes and sizes (companies, unions, nonprofits, universities/colleges, high schools, etc.) so that these entities can provide Counslr's services to their employees/members/students at no direct cost. 

"With such a meaningful percentage of students who use Counslr having never previously engaged with a school counselor, we're hopeful that Counslr will play a role in extending the reach of school-sponsored resources to serve previously unserved populations," Liss said. 

For more information on Counslr, please visit

The Smoky Hill Education Center

The Governance

A Board of Directors - composed of one board member from each of the SHESC "clusters" (a group of Charter school district members) - governs the Smoky Hill Education Service Center. A Superintendents Advisory Council advises the Board of Directors.

The Clientele

Smoky Hill Education Service Center provides staff development and services to more than 2,700 teachers and administrators. The increased knowledge and skills of teachers benefit more than 31,000 students.

The Benefits

Providing ongoing, quality, outcome-directed staff development in a variety of areas.

Saving you money through a cooperative purchasing program.

Offering consultation and services in curriculum development, assessment, and school improvement.

Offering cooperative, cost-efficient services that are too difficult or expensive to support individually.