Kansas City

Mental health services now being offered in more schools – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2022-05-19 11:11:21 –

Dr. John Dignan knows the importance of treating mental health.

“We have a school-based clinic here at Adams Middle School for the past 25 years,” he said.

Dignan is the director of Wayne Westland Community School in Michigan.

The district was quick to accept what is currently prevalent across the country: school-based clinics. They are internal opportunities for physical and mental health care.

“Sometimes we take for granted some barriers that hinder children’s learning,” Dignan said. “If you’re dealing with something, whether it’s mental health or food insecurity, it’s difficult to understand English and math lessons, so you have to learn.”

Students seem to be using the service.

“I had a hard time at home with my parents,” said Brooklyn Stafford, a student at Adams Middle School. “And it was very helpful to have another adult who wasn’t immediately involved in the situation where I could talk and get advice.”

Dignan says the need is real, especially in his community.

“We’re in a blue-collar community. If people don’t go to work, they won’t get paid,” he said. The people and things that talk to are astounding. Especially during a pandemic, I couldn’t even imagine it wasn’t there. “

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly four in ten high school students reported regular mental health problems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly half said, “At some point in the last 12 months, I felt sadness and hopelessness for more than two weeks almost every day and stopped normal activities.” This was true for 57% of lesbian, gay, or bisexual girls and 76% of students.

In 2021, high school graduation rates declined in states such as Tennessee, Indiana, Colorado, California, and Michigan. But all states received billions of dollars from last year’s US rescue program, especially for education.

In Summit County, Colorado, the district was budgeting for a full-time social and emotional wellness coordinator. Like many districts in Michigan, other districts have invested in clinics.

Cindy Marten, Deputy Secretary of Education, believes that the entire community will notice the differences that clinics make to children.

“They are using it to invest down payments and run this infrastructure,” Marten said.

But who keeps doing it? The amount of the rescue plan is temporary. States and districts know that they need to step up to keep their programs alive.

In Michigan, the Governor’s proposed budget for 2023 will require $ 11 million to open 40 new school-based clinics.



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