Lakota Partners with MindPeace

Lakota Partners with MindPeace to Increase Student Access to Mental Health Services
Posted on 08/02/2018
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photo of students smilingHigh School, Junior School Programs Coming this Fall

A new partnership between Lakota Local Schools and MindPeace will increase student access to high quality and affordable mental healthcare.

“The safety and well-being of our students is our top priority,” said Lakota Superintendent Matthew Miller. “Mental health plays a vital role in a student’s growth and success. It’s a serious concern that requires expert care and attention and we are grateful for the expertise of MindPeace and all their partners.”

MindPeace is a non-profit that serves as a catalyst for connecting its network of professional mental health providers with schools. Their model involves a needs assessment in each school, followed by a rigorous interview and selection process by a team represented by MindPeace and school administrators, teachers, support staff and parents.

Ultimately, a licensed therapist from the partner organization has an office at the school and is available for consultation during the school day and after school hours, as needed. Parents, teachers and school counselors can make student referrals for services. Students can also self-refer.

The in-school therapist will offer a more intensive level of service for students and families. Families can cover the cost of therapist visits through insurance, Medicaid or private pay options. The partnership is self-sustaining and does not require any financial investment by the school district.

“One in five young people ages 13 to 18 years have a current mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder, but fewer than one in eight actually receive treatment,” said Susan Shelton, executive director of MindPeace. “Our goal is to educate student advocates to recognize the early signs of distress and remove any barriers to treatment.”

A pilot at Lakota West High School last school year set the district up for a rollout at Lakota East and all four junior schools this fall. As the year continues, the service will expand into Lakota’s elementary and early childhood schools, too.

At West, where Cincinnati Children’s is serving as the licensed partner, the results after just six months of service speak for themselves. After eight sessions, the rubric scores for depression and anxiety among the most severe student cases were cut in half.

“We still have more work to do when it comes to educating our parents, staff and students about the referral process,” said Lakota West Principal Elgin Card. “But we’re seeing positive results from the students we’ve been able to help so far and that’s what it’s all about.”

To date, both Lakota East High School and Ridge Junior School have selected Cincinnati’s Children’s as their partners. Liberty Junior will be working with Solutions Counseling, and Plains Junior has selected Catalyst Counseling. Hopewell Junior’s team is in the process of selecting its partner. Parents and staff can expect to hear more details from their school principal as as new partnerships are solidified in the future.