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Austin, TX: Schools offering more on-campus mental health centers; counselors overworked

June 25, 2018, Austin, TX, Community Impact: Campus mental health centers being offered to more Austin ISD students With mental health-related calls to Austin ISD police increasing each year and the workload of school counselors becoming more burdensome, AISD has opened 40 school mental health centers and added about 100 nondistrict mental health specialists since the start of 2011. Mental health centers are designated rooms on district campuses where licensed mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists or therapists, meet with students, families and staff to work through mental health barriers that could be affecting the student…. “By providing mental health services on campus, we are able to identify, support, and efficiently provide clinical treatment for our students experiencing a variety of mental health issues,” Spinner said. Common mental health issues include clinical anxiety; depression; and stress related to family relationships, schoolwork or trauma, said Dr. Elizabeth Minne, director of South Austin-based Vida Clinic, which staffs and coordinates 25 of the district’s mental health centers. Austin-based Integral Care, a counseling and mental health service, operates the other centers. … Students who have experienced psychological maltreatment and other emotional problems often struggle at school behaviorally because of their psychological distress, Minne said. The centers also help students with developmental disabilities and those with physical or medical ailments that could create barriers in school, she said. …

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