Clay Cty, FL: 450 kids to be helped in school-based help for mental/emotional problems

Feb 1, 2018, (Jacksonville) Florida Times—Union: New Clay school program aimed at-risk students Clay County school district middle school students with behavioral, mental health or emotional issues — that if left unaddressed can put their lives and education at risk — can get help through a new school-based program beginning this month. Superintendent Addison Davis said the district is partnering with Motivational Coaches of America in a program to give students access to behavioral and emotional health services at school at no cost to the students, families or school system. The Clay County School Board approved the program last year. … He said school officials are working to identify about 75 students in each school. Ultimately, 450 will be involved in the program. The main focus on junior high students is to address at-risk students at an earlier stage, he said. “These are students who exhibited undesired behaviors academically, attendance wise, and behaviorally,” Davis said. “Students will learn how to overcome academic anxieties, behavior issues, anger management, bullying, chemical dependence while learning how to foster positive relationships with peers, teachers, parents, and the entire community.” “In this school district alone, we will be adding seven motivational coaches ...” Avael said. The student and his/her family are consulted, and must consent to participate in the program, he said. … Clay County has one of the highest rate increases — 38 percent — in the region for children who were Baker-Acted within a five-year span, according to a Florida Department of Children and Families report last year. The Baker Act is a law allowing the involuntary or emergency commitment of a person for psychiatric evaluation by the state. … Nationwide, six out of 10 youth aren’t getting the support they need regarding mental, behavioral and emotional health issues. In Florida, many of those youth are held under the Baker Act, data show.