In a groundbreaking initiative, the Sauk Prairie School District is revolutionizing its approach to supporting students dealing with mental health crises. This student mental health crisis team system has the potential to serve as a model for school districts across the state of Wisconsin.
The catalyst for this transformative change is a $4.66 million School-Based Mental Health Grant awarded by the US Department of Education, spanning over five years. This grant is empowering the district to establish a new crisis support team in collaboration with county partners.
Under the revamped system, students facing a mental health crisis will receive immediate assistance through a member of the dedicated crisis team, rather than relying solely on school-based counselors, social workers, or psychologists.
Jeff Wright, Superintendent of the Sauk Prairie School District, elaborated on the innovative approach, citing a significant partnership with Sauk Prairie Health Care.
He noted that many families currently encounter difficulties in accessing timely mental health services, with wait times stretching from six to nine months.
To bridge this gap, the district is hiring a clinical therapist in collaboration with the hospital. This strategic alliance aims to drastically reduce wait times and ensure that students receive the critical support they need promptly.
Student Mental Health Crisis Team To Provide Holistic Support
The collaboration extends beyond healthcare, encompassing various crucial partners such as law enforcement, the court system, and community agencies within Sauk County.
The comprehensive approach seeks to provide holistic support to students navigating mental health crises.
Wright emphasized that Sauk Prairie’s model is designed as a pilot program with a broader objective of implementing similar crisis support teams in other school districts throughout Wisconsin in the future.
This initiative reflects a commitment to not only addressing mental health crises as they arise but also proactively engaging in preventative work and identifying students who may be struggling but have not reached the emergency stage.
Mindy Breunig, a veteran counselor with 21 years of experience at Sauk Prairie Middle School, welcomed the additional resources that will enable her to reach more students in her school.
She emphasized the potential of the crisis team to handle urgent situations, which would free up existing resources to focus on proactive interventions and early intervention for students showing signs of distress.
By adopting this innovative approach, the Sauk Prairie School District is at the forefront of improving mental health support for its students. The use of federal grant funding to create a crisis support team sets a precedent for other districts to follow.
The system not only addresses the immediate needs of students in crisis but also aims to foster a culture of proactive mental health care, ultimately benefitting students and their well-being.
The Sauk Prairie School District’s commitment to innovation in mental health support reflects a broader trend in education, as schools increasingly recognize the importance of mental health services for their students.
With mental health issues on the rise among young people, the proactive approach taken by the district is commendable and serves as an example of best practices for educational institutions across the state and beyond.
As the crisis support team takes shape and begins to assist students in need, it will be closely monitored to assess its impact on the mental health and overall well-being of students.
Success in this endeavor could pave the way for similar initiatives in school districts nationwide, helping to address the pressing issue of mental health among students and ensuring that they receive the timely and effective support they require to thrive academically and personally.