Focusing on mental wellness is a year-round priority at Country Day, which is why we’re excited about our partnership with MindPeace – an organization whose focus is the improvement and expansion of school-based mental health services.
“This is all about taking care of the whole child,” said Alexis Nordrum, school psychologist at the middle school. “Our partnership with MindPeace fits perfectly with our goal of developing a comprehensive system of care to provide students and parents easily accessible options for school-based mental health services.”
Through trusted partnerships, MindPeace has co-created a sustainable system of mental health care for children and adolescents in Cincinnati. The organization works with 180 area schools and 18 mental health organizations to provide access to full-time, integrated, and aligned school-based mental health services. For Country Day, MindPeace will help us achieve our vision for our students’ social and emotional well-being; develop and maintain an effective referral process and protocols; and work to eliminate barriers to service.
Our school psychologists are excellent, on-campus resources, but they are not licensed to provide medicine management or mental health treatment. Our school psychologists will continue to provide social-emotional support, help students work through school-based issues, and assess if the students need further treatment. They will also continue providing individual and group counseling, through programs like ROX in the middle school, and team collaboration.
“As a school psychologist, I can provide short-term interventions, accessibility, and consistency. I can reinforce what a student might be focusing on with his or her therapist, but I am not licensed to provide treatment,” continued Nordrum. “With MindPeace, we will add another choice for our families, one that allows us to work together as a team.”
Ultimately, the goal is to give our students and families more options and increased access to mental health services. Families can cover the cost of therapist visits through insurance, Medicaid, or private pay options.
Our families will always have the freedom of choice to seek other options or continue with any current treatment plans or therapists, but through our partnership with MindPeace, we are adding a layer of care by opening access to more extensive mental health treatment and counseling on campus. We can bypass long wait times for psych visits, work directly with pediatricians for medication management, and round out our system of care so our families have choices, regardless of location or socio-economic status.
This service could not come at a better time. According to the American Psychology Association, seven out of 10 people ages 8-23 report experiencing common symptoms of depression. According to the CDC, there has been 24% increase for children ages 5-11 requiring mental health-related hospitalizations since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and for ages 12-17 there has been a 31% increase.
“Mental health is a global issue that touches all of us at some point in our lives,” said Susan Shelton, executive director at MindPeace. “By partnering with us, Country Day has joined a larger community of support.”
THE PROCESS & TIMELINE
In conjunction with MindPeace, throughout the 2020-21 school year, the school collected data and did some deep listening with our stakeholders. This helped determine which mental health care provider was the best fit for our community.
October 2020: Research process began, initial meeting with our three school psychologists and the executive director at MindPeace
November: Began gathering schoolwide data needed for MindPeace’s mental health needs assessment, to help potential mental health partners better understand our community’s needs
December: Sent the confidential data report to MindPeace
January 2021: MindPeace hosted parent interviews and distributed a student survey at the middle school and upper school
February: Faculty/staff meeting to discuss the MindPeace partnership and obtain input
March: MindPeace completed the assessment and shared it with the head of school and leadership team, and met with members of the board of trustees
April: Interview team convened to prep for partner organization interviews
May: Conducting interviews with potential mental health partner organizations
June: Partner selection announcement: Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
August/September: Therapist selection announcement