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November 09, 2021

Behavioral Health Services Partnership Unfolding Ahead Of Schedule In Carmel Clay Schools

Fight for Life, Indianapolis, INSource: Current | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 11/9/2021 –

In the 14 months Carmel Clay Schools has been partnering with Ascension St. Vincent to offer behavioral health services on campuses, more than 400 students have used the services to take part in more than 5,000 therapy sessions.

Those numbers put the program ahead of where district officials thought it would be when they announced the initiative in August 2020. Through the partnership, CCS offers students and employees access to optional therapy sessions, skills coaching, medication management and other services with professional providers.

CCS Mental Health Coordinator Stephanie Whiteside presented an update on the partnership at the Nov. 8 school board workshop session. She said from the beginning of the school year through Oct. 18, CCS counselors and social workers made 99 referrals to Ascension St. Vincent professionals, compared to 5 in the same time period in 2020 in the program’s infancy. This does not include appointments made through parent or self-referrals.

Suicide screenings have also increased, with 101 completed from the beginning of the school year through Oct. 18 this year compared to 41 during the same period in 2020. The majority of the screenings have occurred among middle and high school students, but Whiteside said CCS is seeing an increasing number of elementary students being evaluated.

The partnership rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to mental health challenges of its own.

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