Olathe Schools Strengthen Mental Health Services

By Marleah Campbell

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OLATHE, Kan. (KCTV) — Students in the Olathe school district will have increased access to mental health services this year.

The district is centralizing its mental health services and using community support to provide more resources.

“We are really excited to be able to meet the needs of our students and make sure families get the help they need for their students in the school setting, where students tend to be really comfortable,” Angie Salava, district director of social-emotional learning and mental health services, said.

Last year, the district had 10 mental health professionals stationed at different schools — but with more than 50 buildings in the district, that pattern needed to change.

This year, five district employees will be dispatched to wherever the need arises at the request of the school.

Additionally, a new grant secured 25 community therapists who will partner with the district and provide care when needed.

This can range from emergency situations to ongoing therapeutic services.

“Our outsourced providers will provide this one-on-one, individualized therapy,” Salava said. “Our school providers will do many, many groups of depression groups, anxiety groups, anger management groups. We have transition groups for students entering kindergarten, sixth or ninth grade to help them become familiar with the school environment. »

Parents can choose to enroll their children in the Services, and all Services require parental consent.

Community providers will bill the family, “unless the family is unable to pay,” Salava said. These families will have their services covered by the Braden Robertson Student Mental Health Fund. (Mental Health and Wellness | Olathe Public Schools Foundation)

“We leave that to the private providers, but our private providers also know that if a family is hesitant, they should go ahead and offer them a scholarship,” Salava said.

Salava says the March shooting in Olathe East led the district to revise its protocols and strengthen mental health support.

“We knew we had a growing need for students, that’s something we talked about ahead of time, but it helped push us a bit more to make sure we were meeting the need and were in able to provide the kind of services our students deserve,” said Angie Salava.

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