Westside Promotes Mental Health Awareness
Posted May 31, 2019
The following message is from Westside Superintendent Dr. Blane McCann
This May, our district worked to spread the word about Mental Health Awareness month. As a district we know, based on a community survey conducted in the spring of 2018, that identifying and intervening on mental and behavioral health issues is a top priority for our staff, parents and students. Today, public schools are asked to meet the needs of students with a wide variety of mental and behavioral health diagnoses, all the while maintaining a safe and inclusive learning environment. Because we recognize this fact, Westside has increased the amount and number of resources devoted to supporting our students who exhibit mental illness and who are in difficult environments outside of school.
In 2012, Westside Community Schools began contracting with outside agencies to assist district personnel in meeting the needs of learners with mental and behavioral health issues. In conjunction with our school psychologists, counselors and social workers, the district is able to provide early identification and intervention services by connecting families with our student-assistance program partners at Children’s Behavioral Health. This ongoing partnership allows the district to overcome barriers, such as the high costs of treatment, and to maintain a safe environment for all students.
Next year, the Westside community will see an expanding presence of Children’s Behavioral Health services within Westside Community Schools. In addition to offering services at their 90th and Dodge location, Children’s Behavioral Health staff will also be spending more time onsite at Westside Middle School, Westside High School and WHS West Campus. Costs associated with this increased time will be offset by Children’s Hospital, access to parent or student insurance programs, and sustained district funding.
This expanded program allows more students to be seen regularly by a highly trained clinician without ever leaving campus. In addition to seeing students onsite, parents may be invited to participate in sessions through “telehealth”, which will allow parents to engage with their child and the clinician from their home or office, via their smartphone or tablet.
As always, we are committed to providing high quality mental and behavioral health services and supports to meet the social-emotional needs and learning of students across the district. We believe that these expanded services will continue to provide families with the cost-efficient and quality services they are accustomed to receiving at Westside Community Schools. For questions or additional information, please contact Dr. Kami Jessop, Director of Special Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.