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Lee County schools renewing partnership with SalusCare to help tackle mental health

Tuesday, Lee County schools are guarding against the campus security threat more cameras or fences can’t help with— what’s going on in a student’s mind.

Since the start of the school year the district has already referred 212 students to SalusCare  for evaluation.

For parents, those numbers are proof this is important.

“They need to have someone who’s looking out for them that way too…yeah the metal detectors and all that stuff is great, but we need to get inside so we can get to them before something happens,” said Nadia DeSanctis, who is from Lee County.

The partnership started with the behavioral healthcare center a year ago, and now it is up for renewal.

Here’s how it works: The district pays SalusCare $195,000 per year, in return SalusCare provides two clinicians.

They will see students within 2 days of a referral and get results back to the district.

Referrals come from the district’s threat assessment teams.

Depending on what the student needs, SalusCare could provide them with a mental health counselor, substance abuse counselor or a psychiatrist.

“Rather than letting a child continue to struggle and maybe see declines in their behaviors or in their grades, the school systems identifying it quickly getting the kids to us quickly so that we can help resolve those issues more expediently,” SalusCare employee, Keri Riedel said.

On Tuesday, the district also plans to sign an agreement with Florida Gulf Coast University’s brand new mental health facility that will allow them to refer students to there as well.

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