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Local

New mobile app gives McHenry County teens access to mental health services

CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County teens now have access to mental health resources at their fingertips.

The mobile app, “MCHELP,” originally was launched as “Text a Tip” – an anonymous texting service that provides McHenry County youth 24-7 confidential access to trained, licensed mental health counselors. Crystal Lake Elementary School District 47 and the McHenry County Community Foundation partnered in fall 2015 to launch the service and fund it for three years.

The app was rebranded after a focus group last spring. The service still will be available in its original form, where students can type in the code “MCHELP” and send it along with their concern to a designated six-digit number.

Robin Doeden, executive director of the McHenry County Community Foundation, said the program has a new, more attractive look and a new name that causes less confusion about its purpose.

About 5,000 text messages were received from students through Text A Tip during the 2015-16 school year. The McHenry County Crisis Center responds to the incoming texts after taking over the duties from the Child and Adolescent Family Recovery Center in Hoffman Estates.

“Students cannot learn unless they first have their basic needs met,” District 47 Superintendent Kathy Hinz said in a news release. “MCHELP’ connects students with resources to get those needs met, and District 47 schools are happy to promote and support the program and mobile app launch.”

The free mobile app can be downloaded in the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store.

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