Williamsport, Pa. – Over the last year, the effects of COVID-19 had a profound impact on the mental health of everyone, but particularly the elderly and children. Recognizing this as an increased need, the Lycoming County United Way is excited to announce their Technology for Telehealth campaign.

With decreases in funding, as well as accessibility to students, United Way staff began exploring needs with Laurel Spencer, Executive Director at Diakon Family Life Services, a United Way community partner.

According to Laurel, one of the most critical needs today is in the area of school-based counseling; an area the United Way already helps support. Diakon Family Life Services' Counseling Education Program allows both in-clinic and school-based counseling for youth. This program allows any individuals, family and/or group counseling as well as psychiatric evaluation and medication management.

The Lycoming County United Way currently funds this program, but has had to decrease that funding over the last few years.

“COVID-19 not only had an impact on our ability to raise funds, but also certainly impacted all of our children,” said Ron Frick, President of the Lycoming County United Way. "The ability of providers like Diakon and others to reach children via telehealth services, in many cases, was a lifeline to saving lives.”

“When staff came up with the idea to raise funds for tablets, we just had to give it a shot and try to raise a few extra dollars in an increased area of need,” said Frick.

Donors can invest in the purchase of tablets that will be configured for use with special software designed to protect the confidentiality of the student and counselors giving both the ability to communicate via teleconference.

The goal: to raise $3,000 in the months of July and August via a Facebook fundraising page

“Because of some of the technical requirements, we will work directly with Diakon to acquire as many tablets as possible to help as many kids as possible," said Frick.

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