Offering mental health services in schools ensures accessibility and increases participation of students and their families in counseling, as well as providing a natural setting to address emotional and behavioral issues.
Healthy Minds, Healthy Schools is currently active in four schools on Chicago’s southwest side - Curie Metropolitan High School in Archer Heights, Gage Park High School in Gage Park, and Richards Career Academy and William H. Seward Communication Arts Academy Elementary School in Back of the Yards. According to the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration, all of the communities served are within a designated mental health professional shortage area.
Overall, Healthy Minds, Healthy Schools uses a holistic approach to impact clients, institutions, and communities on multiple levels:
Children and Youth
- Clinicians use evidence-based interventions to aid pre-school – 12th grade students in decreasing symptoms of mental illness, including disruptive behavior and aggression, self-harm, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, bullying, and low motivation.
- Enhancing students’ social-emotional skills can help them improve their ability to focus and control their behavior in the classroom, which impacts their academic success, connection to school and attendance.
- Clinicians provide services for families at their homes, in community locations and in schools to increase access to resources and augment parent engagement.
- Family-centered interventions promote strengthening of the family unit and stable support for students.
School Staff and Teachers
- Clinicians develop collaborative partnerships with school staff members by providing strategic problem solving to enhance organizational process and efficacy of interventions.
- Specific services are offered to teaching staff, such as conducting student observations in the classroom and meeting with teachers to support students who struggle with behavioral issues to decrease fatigue and increase academic focus.
Providing staff trainings on topics such as effective communication, secondary traumatization, team building and classroom management promotes the wellbeing of staff members, which can boost morale, improve the climate of the school/agency and enhance the collaborative process.