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Expanding School-Based Mental Health Services is a Priority in Districts

Jan. 14, 2020 5p

(WGTD)---Some area school districts are continuing to ramp up school-based mental health services.

Racine Unified has been pursuing an expansion of such programs for several years, as has been Kenosha Unified.

Kenosha’s Bradford High School and Bullen Middle school were the first schools in the district to host after-class clinics beginning in 2017. Now 42 schools in the district have such a service.

The district contracts with a non-profit to provide the specialized help. The insurance companies of the parents of the students who take advantage of the program are usually billed.

On a recent edition of WGTD’s Education Matters program, Bridget Kotarek, director of the district’s special education and student support department, said in the past students with serious problems relied on their parents to secure the help they needed. With a school-based service, some of the barriers to securing that help are erased. Parental consent and involvement are still sought.  

National data shows that one in six youth between the ages of 6 and 17 will experience at least one mental health challenge. In the average classroom, according to data cited on the program, five kids have a serious mental health condition. One is struggling with abuse, while 10% live in poverty.

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