3 area schools have school-based mental health teams

Districts, Dane County collaborate on program focused on younger students
3 area schools have school-based mental health teams

New teams of mental health professionals are helping students and families in a creative program based in area schools, according to a release.

School-based mental health teams started this school year in the Sun Prairie, Verona and Madison school districts, officials said. The collaboration between the school districts and Dane County will be run by Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities will also coordinate the rapid-response mental health team program, called Building Bridges, according to the release.

School administrators and staff at Dane County’s Joining Forces for Family said they needed a program focused on addressing mental health needs in schools and providing proactive support systems that are best for students.

“County staff, school officials and law enforcement have all identified supporting immediate mental health needs of students as a top priority and I am excited to have these teams up and running now in Sun Prairie, Madison and Verona,” Parisi said in the release. “This partnership will provide trained, experienced staff to assist the schools and our families and help all students succeed.”

The three districts independently chose to focus on younger students in grades four-year-old kindergarten through eighth grade, officials said.

“In our school district we are working hard to stay incredibly focused on the day-to-day work of teaching and learning. As we do that work, this is exactly the type of coordinated partnership that we need to help support our students and families,” Madison Metropolitan School District Superintendent Jennifer Cheatham said. “By partnering together, we can provide proactive support to our students who need it, so they can be successful in school.”

The program will be tracking outcomes, parent satisfaction and impact on behavioral referrals, attendance and school attachment using a 90-day intervention model, according to the release.