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Award Increases Access to School Based Health and Wellness Support for Students
SAN JOSE, CA – Yesterday, July 23, 2020, the Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission approved the issuance of an intent to award a Mental Health Student Service Act (MHSSA) Grant to implement a collaborative partnership of the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE), the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) and the thirty-one Santa Clara County school districts. The SCCOE will utilize MHSSA funds to establish wellness centers on school sites, increase the number of mental health professionals at school sites and provide relevant professional learning to school personnel. The intent of this effort will be to increase mental health prevention, early intervention and direct service opportunities for students and families.
“Increasing access to school based health and wellness addresses the evident need for mental health services and removes stigma and promotes wellness of our youth,” said Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mary Ann Dewan. “Having a wellness focus and access to counselors and other school based campus support, contributes to the healthy development of young people. Increasing the investment, which is necessary for a school campus to focus on wellness, also demonstrates the importance of the long term impact of multifaceted academic, behavior, and mental health programs and services.”
Studies show the lack of mental health and wellness service access among young people in Santa Clara County may be associated with different factors, but only a fraction of those that need mental health services, have access to them. Young people with emerging mental health issues have difficulty finding timely, appropriate treatment and a service system that can respond to their needs.
“We must continue to strengthen our mental health delivery system. The creation of these wellness centers marks a critical step forward for schools during this challenging pandemic. Approximately 700,000 students in California have serious behavioral health disorders. Of those students, only 120,000 or 17% receive therapy or counseling as part of their IEP. Establishing school wellness centers gives school aged children a head start by increasing their access to help. I’m excited to see Santa Clara County become a model for providing mental health services on school campuses, as the need continues to rise due to COVID-19. I hope to see this model further expanded throughout the state.” Senator Jim Beall SD-15
With the funding from this award and in partnership with the County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department (BHSD) and Santa Clara County school districts, SCCOE plans to create wellness centers at traditional public school campuses throughout Santa Clara County. Wellness Centers are designed to provide safe, supportive environments on school campuses where students can participate in different coping wellness strategies and receive group and, or individual programs and resources.
“We celebrate yesterday’s news and recognize there is important and complex work to do. This funding will support our county’s efforts to increase school based mental health services for students and their families. Attending to the well-being of students ensures they have a chance to receive the support they need to further their academic and social-emotional development. The actions we take to develop and sustain these necessary supports helps build a strong community,” said Santa Clara County Board of Education President, Claudia Rossi.
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About the Santa Clara County Office of Education
Working collaboratively with school and community partners, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) is a regional service agency that provides instructional, business, and technology services to the 31 school districts of Santa Clara County. The County Office of Education directly serves students through special education programs, alternative schools, Head Start and State Preschool programs, migrant education, and Opportunity Youth Academy. The SCCOE also provides academic and fiscal oversight and monitoring to districts in addition to the 22 Santa Clara County Board of Education authorized charter schools.