BIE Launches Behavioral Health Support Line for Indigenous Students, Staff

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) is launching a 24/7 support line for students and staff at schools and programs funded by the bureau. Students and staff who call 1-844-ASK-BHWP (1-844-275-2497) will be connected with trained professionals who can provide immediate individual attention. The call line offers 24/7 crisis support and scheduled counseling sessions.

The call line is part of the BIE Behavioral Health and Wellness Program, which provides bureau-funded schools and programs with Indigenous focused, evidence-based and trauma-informed behavioral health and wellness support. The program’s counseling team is primarily staffed with Indigenous counselors who have experience serving Native communities.

“BIE schools play a critical role in student’s lives that extends beyond the classroom and into their communities and the tribal nations that they are part of,” said Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “The mental health and wellness services provided through this program will also extend beyond the classroom, creating healthier and more resilient communities.”

Once connected to the call line, callers will have two options to select from for behavioral health support. Option 1 will connect callers to 24/7 immediate individual crisis support. This option is available now to students and staff at all schools and programs funded by BIE. Option 2 will connect callers with information on non-crisis virtual counseling services.

The program’s virtual counseling model utilizes a school-based, short-term and solution-focused approach to address student and staff behavioral health concerns. The program will align with the American School Counselor Association’s standards for school-based counseling which focuses on preventative and early intervention efforts.

The BIE program will also offer trauma-informed, on-site and virtual crisis support to students and staff at bureau-funded schools and programs in 2024. Crisis support aims to lessen the intensity, duration and presence of a crisis that is typically overwhelming, while showing respect and honor for local tribes’ practices and traditions.

“This program is designed to offer individual, culturally relevant crisis support, ensuring that both students and staff have access to the personalized assistance they need,” said BIE Director Tony Dearman. “Mental health is essential to success – in academics and in life. This program empowers our students and staff to thrive in the classroom while fostering the overall well-being of our entire community.”