Lee County schools making mental health care a priority

Lee County Schools have a new plan to make mental health care a main priority inside the school walls.

The district is receiving 1.8 million dollars for mental health assistance, and with the money the district plans to hire 10 more social workers, 4 more school psychologists, and 3 behavior specialist on top of the mental health employees already on campus.

The money will also go towards things like diagnosis and treatment as well as training for staff to recognize red flags.

MORE: New partnership with mental health treatment center approved by Lee County

A specialized team will then determine if a student needs more care, which ranges from in school counseling to therapy at an outside facility.

Parents say getting students the help they may need could go as far as preventing possible tragedies.

“We’ve seen so often with a lot of the school shootings that have taken place, and the last thing we want is to have that happen here in our hometown. If we’re proactive vs reactive I think we’re a step ahead of a lot of other places across the country,” Marjorie Johnson, whose kid attends a Lee County school.

Also part of the plan to help with mental health, Lee County schools are building a stronger partnership between the district and the behavioral health facility, Salus Care.

Salus Care says they have always had a good relationship with the district, but this year they’ve hired three additional clinicians to work directly with schools.

This will allow the clinicians to quickly diagnose and treat students referred to them by the schools threat assessment team.

If it is urgent, they will meet the students within 48 hours and get them into counseling, therapy, or even wrap around treatments that work with entire families.

Health professionals say it’s important to have this joint effort so children don’t go years without getting proper care.

 

Reporter:Andrea Henderson
Writer:Lincoln Saunders
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