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Helping Students with Mental Health Needs

School-based mental health program serving students in grades 4K-8 with immediate mental health needs.

Author: Nicole/Monday, February 13, 2017/Categories: Catholic Charities Children Services

Catholic Charities' Building Bridges program recently helped two siblings who were experiencing different types of challenges at home and school.

Peter was struggling with attending class and didn’t engage with peers. Peter is a kind and thoughtful person who was concerned about the well-being of his older brother Nathan, who had unaddressed cognitive needs.

Peter and Nathan’s mom, dad, and stepmom had challenges communicating with each other and with the school. School staff had challenges getting information from the family.

Dad switched his work schedule so that he could focus on his family. But stress mounted on the family as Peter required more support. At one point dad began having serious health issues due to stress.

Building Bridges staff spent time segmenting out stressors for the family, increased communication between school and home, and began identifying appropriate community resources.  

A behavior intervention plan was made and education and support were provided to school staff who worked directly with Peter. Building Bridges staff also worked with Peter and his family on coping skills, which allowed time for positive parent bonding within the school. School staff also had more positive contact with the family because they were at school during non-crisis times.

Building Bridges staff provided therapy to Nathan and his family, spent time increasing the family’s understanding of the cognitive challenges Nathan faces, and looked at long-term support and goal development.

After 6 months the school reported that Peter attends class regularly, engages with peers, and is involved in therapy with the family. Nathan receives support for his cognitive challenges, participates in Karate to build his social skills, and is also actively engaged in therapy. Peter and Nathan’s family report less stress and feel supported by both the school and their therapist.

Building Bridges is a school-based mental health program that serves students in grades 4K-8, with immediate mental health needs, and their families.

Trained and experienced mental health staff work with the school to connect students and their families to resources, develop and promote emotional wellness, and provide school staff with professional development consultation on mental health and trauma-related issues.

Services are free of charge to the students and their families and provided regardless of religion, race, ethnic background, and socio-economic status.

Please contact Trish Grant, Building Bridges Program Coordinator, at 608-826-8008 or tgrant@ccmadison.org if you have any questions or for more information.

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