Sycamore Schools Expands Mental Health Services
In Sycamore Community Schools, we believe that we must address the needs of the total person, teaching the mind and the heart. That’s why we are proud to announce a new partnership with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to provide families access to private mental health support services for students.
The district began collaborating in Spring of 2017 with Mindpeace, a non-profit organization that helps align the partners, infrastructure, and processes for children’s mental health solutions between schools and local agencies. Through Mindpeace, Sycamore Schools chose to form a partnership with Children’s Hospital.
“We want to make sure we identify students who may be struggling with mental health issues and provide access to care for those students so that they can reach their full potential,” said Frank Forsthoefel, superintendent.
Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, Children’s Hospital will provide on-site independently licensed therapists at our elementary schools to confidentially serve students with significant mental health challenges. The district will initially pilot the program at our four elementary schools, with plans to spread the initiative to all seven schools. Having a therapist on site will give families access during the school day without having to leave the Sycamore community.
Sycamore’s pilot Mindpeace program will give students an additional option for mental health services beyond the services offered by our highly-trained school guidance counselors and psychologists. The school counseling program is an integral component of all aspects of our schools, as it helps students be emotionally healthy and ready to learn, and as mental health needs increase, so does the need for more acute care.
According to Mindpeace, mental illness affects approximately one in every five children and less than 25% of children are able to access mental health care.
“We are looking forward to the partnership with Cincinnati Children's Medical Hospital to provide access to mental health services for our students who need it,” said Stacey Spencer, Director of Student Services. “Removing barriers to learning will enable our students to fully engage in the wonderfully rich curriculum and activities that are available to them every day.”
The partnership with Cincinnati Children’s and their services do not require any financial support from the district. Students and families needing services can cover therapy visits through private insurance, Medicaid, or private pay options. Assistance may be available for families experiencing financial difficulty.
Parents, teachers and school guidance counselors can make student referrals for service. Students can also self-refer for services. Ultimately, the decision to move forward with therapeutic services is up to the family.
Children’s Hospital will also work with our staff to ensure proper education and training on mental health services.
Please look for additional information in the coming months about the therapists coming to our buildings and how to seek out these services.