Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1695920

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 18, 2017

Mental health services coming to Washington

Oct 13, 2017

By Xiomara Levsen, The JOURNAL

 

The Washington School Board approved a 28E agreement for mental health service providers to provide mental health care to students in the district during its meeting Wednesday evening.

Special education director Samantha Brinning spoke about how the opportunity to provide mental health services in the district came about. She and curriculum director Veta Thode found out there was a high need for mental health support for students in the district.

“As Veta and I attended some conferences we found that the best way to go about that is to provide school-based mental health services,” Brinning said, “so individual therapy or group-based therapy. Along that process we found out that this is a great idea but it has to be financially sustainable.”

They received a grant from United Way and some funding from the Washington County Enrichment Foundation to fully fund mental health support in the schools, she added. This program will cost $17,000.

The next step was meeting with providers to see if this would work, Brinning said. They also set up a referral process with each guidance counselor in the district so students could start receiving these services.

“Our hope is to start Oct. 15,” Brinning added. “Fingers crossed that we can get there at that point, but we want to do a gradual release where our providers come in and provide an average of three sessions per building per week.”

These sessions would be on an individual basis. The WRAP Center would have the group sessions, she said.

“The hope would be that we get about an average of six sessions per week within the next month or two after that,” Brinning said.

The providers are also discussing with the district on how to make it financially sustainable for them to offer these services.

“Veta and Same worked on this together,” superintendent Jeff Dicks said. “They hosted two large group meetings with providers — the hospital was here with representation and so it’s a community effort to do these services.”

The $17,000 will cover students who are underinsured, or uninsured students who take advantage of these services in the district, Brinning said.

“And the other benefit is, in district, the kid doesn’t miss more than they need to,” Dicks added. “We provide the place, service and back to class. Parents don’t have to get involved but will be fully aware because some of these kids are younger than you’d expect.”

The school counselors will also have an ongoing relationship with the providers in their buildings and will have access to the information that the providers are able to share, Thode said.

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