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Polk Cty, GA: District partners with mental health services

Jan 12, 2018, Polk County (GA) Standard Journal: PSD partners with Willowbrooke http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/polk_standard_journal/news/local/psd-partners-with-willowbrooke/article_f4c0668c-f6f4-11e7-8430-d71b61fdf798.html A factor that keeps some students from being successful in the classroom has to do with their mental health, and now Polk School District is putting together a partnership to ensure local youth are getting the care they need. Over the past months, Polk School District has worked with Willowbrooke at Tanner and their partnership via Polk Medical Center for informative talks on suicide prevention, and also on opioid and alcohol addiction. Now the group is bringing a new offering that won’t cost the school district any extra, but will require parents to either provide insurance or get help with covering the costs of treatment. Dr. Katie Thomas, who helped organize the meetings at the College and Career Academy with Willowbrooke at Tanner officials, said that conversations had after those meetings over how the medical group could be of help to the Polk School District through a coming program called Graduate Polk brought about this idea. Students who have mental health problems often run into the problem of how to make appointments work with their school schedule, and in many cases parents can’t get the time off to get children to needed appointments with counselors or psychiatrists. “Mental health issues are definitely present, they’re on the rise, and they are something that we need to address,” Thomas said. “They aren’t going away anytime soon, and we definitely have a need.” To help fill that gap is a proposal put up by the medical group who won’t be charging Polk School District a penny, but will be utilizing school facilities. … Essentially, the program will bring in a counselor for students to see during the school day at pre-set times, with parents’ insurance billed like regular appointments would be with a doctor locally or outside the county. … Additionally, if parents don’t have health insurance and students need mental health services, Price said Willowbrooke at Tanner will help a child’s family find the services. “We’re already working with several school districts in the area,” Price said. She said Haralson County, Carroll County and Douglass already have a program in place, and Polk would be a fourth. “The idea is to embed our counselors into the school community, so students can get the care they need without having to leave the campus,” she said.