Campbell County School District focuses on mental health and suicide prevention

Campbell County School District focuses on mental health and suicide prevention

Campbell County School District (CCSD) Officials focus on Psychological health And the suicide prevention As part of their plans to tackle a problem that has proven to be a problem. Efforts to address the problem come with a high suicide rate in the state and Campbell County.

“It was really something we have been working on since 2008,” said Kip Farnum, director of student support services for the district. “We got a grant from SAMHSA, Organization for Substance Abuse and Mental Health And it was a massive $6 million grant that we used for five years to develop prevention programs, along with different types of intervention programs to reduce bullying and violence in school.”

Additional scholarships helped create additional resources for students in the area, which now include 18 programs.

“We were looking for ways to perpetuate it, and we decided to try and apply for some grants for a school health care center,” he explained. “With a focus on mental health services, the pre-grant SAMSA scholarship Safe Schools Healthy Students Granted, we worked with the hospital to bring mental health providers into our schools. We had four of them distributed across all of our 24 schools. That was a huge success for us.”

This led to the creation of Kids ClinicThe school and child health care center is unique among the state’s school districts. He said it currently employs 16 people, a fourfold increase in seven years and provides counseling and psychological services, among other things. Services are offered jointly with Campbell County Health (CCH).

“We have the only truly dedicated school health care center in the state,” Farnum said. “And we have six mental health providers working there, two primary care providers and one of them has a mental health certification. She is able to prescribe medication to children and work with them in many ways.”

The clinic came because of the problems that faced the area. It was decided that a dedicated facility to address these issues was necessary, which is currently located adjacent to one of my middle school in Gillette.

“Then we thought if we could create a school health center and make it the focus of our mental health services, or substance abuse services, and have some group activities and substance abuse prevention, and then also provide primary care to some of the vast majority of our students, that would be great.” . “And we were able to make it happen.”

There are approximately 8,800 students in the school district, which covers the entire district and is the third largest by enrollment of any district in the state. Factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic have taken their toll on students, with about 10 percent of every school receiving mental health services from every school during the school year. The number of students seeking mental health services continues to increase by about 10 percent each year. Farnum said youth suicides began to become more problematic around 2010 and peaked between 2014 and 2016 when nine school-aged children and teens committed suicide.

District staff and teachers also participate in continuing education courses and a variety of other trainings. He explained that identifying signs of depression, anxiety, and possibly suicide are all part of what they are trained to look for.

“I think what’s in the community and what’s in the school district now is a lot more profound than it was back then,” Farnum said. “Kids are trained how to refer a friend without appearing to be gossiping or a snitch. They can do this anonymously through another program called Safe2Tell They can text or call and submit an anonymous report on a person with suicidal thoughts. And we have many of these reports, and we’ve definitely saved lives.”

Spanish-speaking students can receive counseling services through Jackson’s telehealth offering, which includes bilingual therapists such as social communication He does not have any bilingual counseling options, which have proven popular with these students, he said.

Farnum said the district added other initiatives as they became available. He added that there is a significant difference in the school district compared to the rest of Campbell County.

“In the past five years, one student committed suicide and our suicide rate went down,” he said. “In society as a whole, unfortunately things are going in the opposite direction. So, we feel like we are doing some really good work.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also call 988 or send “WYO” to 741741. Local mental health and substance abuse services It is also offered in communities statewide.

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