Mental Health Counseling
Students who have experienced recent or debilitating trauma, have serious deficits in cognitive emotional skills, or behaviorally exhaust all campus interventions may benefit from the assistance of a mental health counselor. In certain emergency situations, immediate access may also be the right course of action. Unfortunately, many families experience barriers in seeking mental health support like transportation, child care, insurance, and scheduling conflicts.
THE BIG IDEA:
Pasco intends to build a growing partnership with local mental health agencies to provide access to mental health counselors (MHC) within the school walls. Right now, we have two partnerships. Comprehensive Healthcare provides one full-time MHC who works part-time at Curie Elementary and part-time at New Horizons High School. Tri-City Community Health/Nueva Esperanza plans to provide a district MHC to triage campuses with emerging needs on an on-call basis through a prescribed referral system.
Referring to Mental Health
Curie and New Horizons:
The administrator, counselor, behavior intervention specialist may refer students to mental health counseling at Curie and New Horizons.
For the rest of PSD, the counselor or behavior intervention specialist should discuss the need for mental health services with the campus administrator. The administrator may call the district Behavior Intervention Coach. The Behavior Intervention Coach will ensure that the campus has attempted appropriate interventions before requesting an MHC. If the referral is made, the MHC will generally arrive on campus the same day. Someone on campus should be prepared on standby to welcome the MHC, call the student, and provide a quiet, private room for the triage. After meeting with the student, the MHC will discuss follow-up plans and actions with the administrator or team. It is possible that after meeting with a student, the MHC may want to be part of the SAT/PBIS Tier 2/3 meeting that develops plans for the student.
If it becomes clear that a substantial number of MHC referrals involve drugs use/abuse, there is the possibility of having another MHC funded by Comprehensive Mental Health.
Is it working?
Mental Health Counseling is not a magic wand that will immediately fix a student. However, a more family-focused approach may find, explore, and challenge barriers that prevent the student from success. The MHC will be an asset to a PBIS Tier 2/3 team in helping to develop working plans for student success. Collaboration will be the key.
Mental Health Counseling is NOT a child's only intervention
Students should remain in other campus-based interventions even if they are receiving outside counseling.