NEW ULM — The District 88 School Board has received an update on mental health supports and programs.
A newly formed District Mental Health Team was formed this school year. The purpose of the team is to coordinate and provide mental health services to students, family and staff.
Assistant manager Troy Guentz, the team’s coordinator, said that in terms of mental health, the basics are being met, but the team is looking to fill in additional gaps and find ways to accentuate programs.
Mimi Chough, a member of the district advisory committee and member of the mental health support team, said the district is considering a three-tier system for mental health support.
The first level was assigned to all students. This included promoting positive social, emotional and behavioral skills and general well-being.
The second level is for students who need a little help. Chough said this is for students who come to the counselor’s office for help or are looking for tutoring. This could take the form of small group interventions and mentorship or low-intensity classroom support.
The third level is for high need situations. Chough said it was for students who were struggling to stay in school. Students who require individual treatment for significant distress due to a seizure or functional impairment. This level could include therapy or a higher level of care.
Chough said a gap in the system is making sure parents are aware of what’s available in schools. Chough wanted to spread information about mental health programs in the community to make sure families who needed certain services knew how to get them.
Guentz said the school needs to better inform the community about what it offers. This means using social media or newsletters to bridge the gap.