Ferguson-Florissant School District will provide full-time therapists in all district schools

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FERGUSON, MISSOURI ( KTVI)– Building on last fall’s successful offering of in-school therapists to students in response to community violence, Ferguson-Florissant School District and Great Circle are partnering to provide full-time therapists in all schools beginning fall 2015.

To address ongoing mental health needs, individual and group counseling will be offered to students. Case management and referrals to other services may be offered as needed.

Research indicates that the mental health of children and adolescents impacts academic success. Embedding a therapist in the daily routine of a school enables therapists to become familiar with the students, get to know them better and be more attuned to their needs. As the therapist becomes a familiar face in the school, students are likely to be open to the therapist’s involvement in their lives and needs.

Great Circle currently works with Ferguson-Florissant School District providing individual, family, group and crisis therapy, and case management for students in the Mark Twain Alternative Program. Great Circle provided therapists and counselors to Ferguson-Florissant School District in welcoming back students to school after community violence delayed the opening of the academic year in late summer 2014.

Last month, Baltimore City Public Schools modeled Ferguson-Florissant’s partnership with community health organizations to provide mental health support services for students.

“Traumatic childhood experiences negatively impact a child’s chances of success later in life,” said Angela Bratcher, statewide director of student support services. “Our partnership with Ferguson-Florissant School District aims to address the impact of trauma and equip students with the tools for positive, fulfilled lives.”

Training will focus on how traumatic events impact children and youth, their families and communities. Other potential components of training: skills for psychological recovery and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to assist children and youth that need this service.

Great Circle was one of 27 behavioral health organizations across the U.S. and the only Missouri organization to participate in the National Council for Behavioral Health Trauma-Informed Behavioral Healthcare Learning Community in 2014.

Children’s Services Fund of St. Louis County is funding the program.

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