MMC, HCS meet Gov. Reynolds; discuss mental health initiative

    HARLAN - School-based therapist, Katie Sandquist, and Harlan Community High School Principal, Scott Frohlich, were invited to the Governor’s Teachers Cabinet to discuss mental health in schools recently.  
    The Teachers Cabinet is a group of educators that advises the governor on education policy for the state. Gov. Kim Reynolds reached out and asked Frohlich and Sandquist to share their innovative approach of removing barriers for kids and building collaboration between the school and Myrtue Medical Center in addressing mental health issues for students and staff in the school district.
    The school-based therapy program got the attention of Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg when they visited Harlan Community Schools earlier this year.
    Reynolds was interested in the success of Myrtue Medical Center’s unique permanency model within the school versus mobility of care that others tend to offer across the state.  
    With the governor’s recent bill covering recommendations for establishing an Iowa children’s mental health system in Iowa, the state board will take a comprehensive look at current resources and create a strategic plan with specific recommendations to implement a better approach to help children with mental health issues.
    “If we are going to effectively address mental health in schools, we have to come together in a collaborative and mutually supportive way,” said Sandquist. “Partnership and service are two of the core values of Myrtue Medical Center, so this program is a natural extension of our mission.”
    Sandquist shared with Reynolds and the Teachers Cabinet ways to creatively remove barriers to evidence-based treatment and grow a school culture that is trauma-responsive and promotes holistic wellness for students and staff.
    School-based mental health services are outpatient services delivered in schools to work through behavioral, emotional and social challenges that impact success at school and at home.
    Families have the option for greater collaboration between the therapist and other supports at the school. With the parent/guardian’s support, the child’s therapist can work with school staff such as school counselors, administrators and teachers to develop a plan for support that will help the student thrive in and outside of school.  
    Therapy provided at the school mirrors therapy provided at the main Behavioral Health office, including use of the same process for intake, diagnosis, and planning goals for treatment.
    “The partnership with Myrtue has been a seamless transition to better meet our student’s mental health needs,” said Frohlich.
    “The support and collaboration has been a crucial link in making this a successful program. This partnership provides service to our students much quicker than if they would schedule with an outside clinic. Students are scheduled on a regular basis either weekly or bi-weekly within the school day, which reduces instructional time missed from the classroom.”
    To learn more about school-based therapy services call Myrtue Medical Center’s Behavioral Health at (712) 755-5056.

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