The mental health of our students is a priority in Flagler County. With the stressors some students experience, anxiety and depression are not uncommon and these are just a couple of mental health concerns; there are many that affect young people these days. Sometimes students are dealing with emotions or feelings that may cause behavior changes or difficulty coping. Help is available. Families can find more information on a variety of topics here: http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Keyword.aspx.
Since the implementation of PBS in Flagler Schools, the focus on dealing with student behavior has shifted to a focus on determining “What is causing this behavior?” Referrals for mental health services has become an integral part of MTSS/RtI and the discipline process, as well as remaining an avenue for guidance counselors addressing issues of student anxiety, depression, etc.
The first step in accessing the services in mental health care is working with your insurance company to determine who your local providers are. If the student is uninsured, families are encouraged to apply for benefits including Medicaid at http://www.myflorida.com/accessflorida/.
Myth: Students in FCPS don’t have access to mental health due to funding.
Fact: Every student in FCPS has access to mental health either via their own health insurance or paid by the Full Service Schools (FSS) grant. Generally, funding is available annually. The primary reason for this is that many of our families now qualify for Medicaid, which provides long-term therapeutic coverage for counseling. The second reason is refusal of services by families. Only under specific conditions can we require involvement in mental health services, and even then, if the student is not a willing participant, supported by the family, the services are ineffective.
Myth: There are no services available to the students at the schools.
Fact: There are many different types of services available and occurring currently for students.
School counselors are available to provide immediate support to students experiencing a concern. If the event is a short-term or one-time occurrence, that support may be adequate. If the student needs additional support, they may be assigned to a school-based group led by a school counselor or school psychologist, or the student may be recommended for professional therapeutic services.
School psychologists may provide services to students if the student has an IEP and services are included, if the student has been referred for specific services, or if the psychologist is approved to provide services for a specific purpose. In the past, psychologists were seen as primarily diagnosticians, performing tests. Now they provide individual counseling as well as group counseling.
Mental Health Therapists
The FCSB employs two mental health therapists to assist in providing services to uninsured students.
If a student needs professional services, the family should consult with their insurance company to see what providers are covered. Generally, the insurance company will require the student to be served by one of their approved providers in order to cover services. This can be done without assistance from the school. However, if the family needs assistance, they should consult the school counselor.
Services on School Sites
The FCSB Office of Student Services maintains contracts with several agencies and private providers who provide services on site during and/or after the school day. All providers must be Board approved before services on site may be approved.
Halifax Behavioral Services (HBS)
For our students who are clients of HBS, their therapists provide services on our school sites. Some Flagler students attend school at their Daytona location.