Beacon Health Options and MCUSA Partner to Offer Free One-on-One Counseling to Children Affected by Hurricane Irma

Services available onsite in schools and shelters in 11 Florida counties

MIAMI – Beacon Health Options (Beacon), and its network provider, Motivational Coaches of America (MCUSA), announced today that counselors will be stationed at Florida schools and shelters to provide in-person behavioral health and emotional support to children affected by Hurricane Irma. All services will be free of charge and offered to all children, regardless of their health coverage status.

Through the partnership, MCUSA’s behavioral health professionals, known as motivational coaches, will serve children at more than 200 schools and shelters throughout the state. The first wave of 176 coaches will be in communities this week. The second wave of 160 will start on Monday, September 18. Services will be offered in schools in the following 11 counties: Broward, Clay, Duval, Escambia, Hillsborough, Jefferson, Lee, Miami-Dade, Orange, Palm Beach and Pasco.

Motivational coaches will work with school principals to identify children who may have been displaced or have suffered extensive trauma due to the impact of Hurricane Irma. They will determine the needs of each child through one-on-one visits, including their families. Many of the counselors will serve schools with which they work on a daily basis.

To arrange for a child to visit with a motivational coach, parents can also contact a school site or call MCUSA’s toll-free number, 866-305-7365.

Studies after Hurricane Katrina found higher rates of negative mental health impacts, such as PTSD symptoms or behavior such as aggression in those who suffered through the hurricane, according to Carolyn Kousky, Director of Policy Research and Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Risk Center, who studies the long-term effects of natural disasters. (Source:


Founded in Florida in 1996, MCUSA is the largest school-based behavioral health initiative in the country. It provides individualized solutions focused on a child’s well-being to create a safer and more productive academic environment through economically sound and sustainable avenues. MCUSA is nationally accredited by the Council on Accreditation and is a community behavioral healthcare agency, licensed by the Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration and by the Florida Department of Children and Family Services.