School district to implement new mental health care plan for students

The district is placing mental healthcare professionals in every school and using grant money to connect students to help from outside agencies, if needed.

(File photo)
(File photo)
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Flagler Schools is rolling out a new mental health plan for students and placing a mental health professional in every school.

The school district is using a three-year grant that would link the district with Halifax Behavioral Solutions and Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare.

The new mental health plan involves a three-tier structure: the first tier would screen a student to determine whether the student needs mental health care support or some other support, such as aid that could be provided by a social worker, and makes the necessary referrals; the second tier would determine what kind of specialized mental health care support might be required and refer the student to a mental health care professional within the district or at an external agency; and the third tier, undertaken if mental health care at stage two is unsuccessful, would either refer students into an external agency, if that hadn’t been tried in stage 2, or would activate an interagency intervention team.

With the tier system, said Flagler Cares’ Carrie Baird, “they ultimately have a cheerleader getting them to the right place.”

The three-tier approach is a departure from a previous district approach known as the “swarm” approach, in which students identified as needing help would be contacted by multiple mental health and social services professionals. That, said


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