Grand Junction, CO: Call for medical clinics "in every high school"

Mar 15, 2018, Grand Junction (CO) Daily Sentinel: District mulls health centers at high schools—Students' physical, mental well-being would be tended to on-site What if high school students could receive physical and mental health care without ever leaving campus? That's the idea behind school-based health centers, and officials from School District 51, local hospitals and health organizations are exploring the idea of setting up centers at high schools in the Grand Valley. … Kristy Schmidt, development director at Marillac, said that as local organizations have looked at how to help the community and young people in recent years, school-based health centers keep coming up. "They're so important and I think what has really changed is what we're seeing in our community, with the challenges in our schools and what our students are facing," Schmidt said. "It started with just a few of us and now we've got all the hospitals at the table, Mind Springs is at the table, and these community partners are very invested and see the importance of doing this." Similar school-based health centers across Colorado are typically staffed by medical and behavioral health providers, dental professionals and health educators that are employed by outside health care organizations. District 51 Prevention Coordinator Cathy Ebel said one of the biggest benefits of school-based health centers is increasing student access to mental health services. Ebel said students are far more likely to seek help when they don't have to go off-campus to get it. "I think the concept is fabulous," Ebel said. "In a second, I would put school-based health centers in every high school and do mobile health for elementary schools." … While planning is still in early stages, school board members said they're open to the idea of establishing health centers on school campuses. "I think conceptually, we all buy in, but as stewards of a very meager budget, what are the investments there?" asked board President Tom Parrish. Board Vice President Paul Pitton said the health centers sound like an "outstanding opportunity" to improve student health as well as school performance.