ARIN IU 28 and Freeport Area School District are partnering to eliminate barriers to Mental Health Services. A licensed professional counselor (LPC) has been hired and is in place serving students in the district. At a time when students are being impacted by opioid addiction and personal trauma, and school safety concerns have been tied to mental health needs, the LPC can provide intensive counselling services right in the school setting.
According to Kathy Monko, Director of School and Community Services at ARIN IU 28, Freeport Area School District officials had the idea for the program and asked for the IU’s support in hiring and implementation.
“We are excited about this innovative and timely program and anticipate that other districts may copy the model if it is successful,” Monko said.
In fact, just last month, The Pennsylvania School Safety Task Force recommended that school districts “Increase Access to Mental Health Services” and “Increase the Availability of Mental Health Professionals.”
The program is not designed to replace any existing services that students are already receiving or that they may be eligible for in the community. Instead, the service is designed to make sure that counselling is immediately available in school to provide supports in situations as they are developing. The service is also unique in that services are made available regardless of whether the students have insurance coverage to cover the cost of counselling. Again, the need to address real, or potential, problems in real time is the overriding concern.
Parents of Freeport Area students, as well as students, in the Freeport School District may contact the guidance department, administrators or other district staff about this new service.
ARIN IU 28 provides innovative educational programs, training and support services through partnerships and visionary leadership in Armstrong and Indiana Counties.