Mercy Community Healthcare Works with Schools to Expand Mental Health Counseling Program
Friday, June 29, 2018

Section: People & Places in the News, June/July 2018

(from the Tennessean)

The Franklin Special School District plans to expand a program that provides school-based mental health counseling for the upcoming school year through a partnership with Mercy Community Healthcare. The program, which began at one middle school last fall, will expand to an additional middle school and an elementary school in August.

The program aims to remove barriers, like lack of transportation, that prevent children from receiving mental health counseling, said Marcy Webb, director of therapeutic school counseling at Mercy.

Students can be referred to the program, with parental permission, when mental health issues are impacting a student's academic engagement time or their behavior at school, she said. 

"Sometimes its students who make very good grades and they seem completely fine, but there's just something that a teacher or a parent thinks isn't quite right or they know that child has been through some type of trauma," she said.

She added: "We work with the student to help them with coping issues, to connect them with additional services they may need, such as perhaps psychiatry or social work or an in-home services program."

Licensed therapists have an education that completely focuses on mental health, including diagnosis and treatment options, Webb said. 

"We believe we are removing barriers to learning," said Lee Kirkpatrick, FSSD's supervisor of student support services.