One Lakewood Progress - Issue 28 Critical To Support Lakewood City School Students Social, Academic, And Mental Health

Lakewood City Schools Director of Student Services, Lisa Bruening, says the district is working with more children with diagnosed mental illness or who present with symptoms. “We are seeing more students with anxiety and depression, which can manifest itself in the form of school avoidance. Families find it difficult to get into outside providers, due to extensive waiting lists. If we are able to work with our students and families within the district, we can help children stay in school and bring support directly to them.”

Currently, the district offers mental health services through Bellefaire and Guidestone agencies. Many people may be surprised to learn that therapists from these agencies work out of the school buildings. 

Many districts in the United States, in an effort to address psychosocial barriers to students’ educational advancement like food and financial insecurity, lack of family support, and the presence of mental illness, have taken a 360-degree approach by providing wrap-around services that support the whole life of the child. Studies show a child’s social environment affects physical and mental wellness and their ability to function.…”[S]tudents seen are typically Medicaid eligible but dependent on funding, students, not medicaid eligible, can receive up to 6 sessions as a consult or in a group.  We also have a social worker 4 days a week at the medical clinic [operated by the Cleveland Clinic] based at Lakewood High School…[and]… a resident social worker that completes a rotation [there]. One day a week we [also] have an adolescent psychiatrist based at the…clinic.” 

The Three Arches Foundation partnered with the Cleveland Clinic and Lakewood Schools, as well as Bellfaire to fund two one-year grants providing a patient navigator to the schools who runs groups, and works with families, staff, and students, as wellas a full-time therapist who works with any child regardless of the presence of health insurance. 

“[Issue 28] will allow Lakewood Schools to bring social workers and mental health therapists into the school buildings, and work with students and families regardless of insurance,” says Bruening. “The goal would be to not only support students and families but link them up to needed providers. We are already working with our families to provide needed physical and mental health services, but our goal would be to increase the services and supports in our district. We know that we must take care of the whole child, for the child to reach their fullest potential.”

Issue 28 will provide essential services based on the needs demonstrated by our community. The monies raised from this levy will ensure that every student, regardless of whether or not they have health insurance, and no matter their socioeconomic background, has the tools available for success. Lakewood’s students face a variety of challenges as they grow, learn and succeed: challenges they often cannot help, and at times did not ask for. Its up to our community to do what is necessary to support the health and wellbeing of our smallest residents. You can do that by voting YES on Issue 28 on March 17th.

Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.04.2020