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East Jordan places therapist in schools

Flickr User Brad Wilson

A wellness program in northern Michigan has provided East Jordan Public Schools with a behavioral health therapist for students.


Other northern Michigan health centers have partnerships with schools, but this model puts the therapist inside the school.

Natalie Kasiborski is the director of community health for the health department of northwest Michigan. She said there are a lot of benefits to the program.

“This model of integrating into the school reduces a lot of barriers for families including transportation, so students are able to receive the services that they need and parents don’t need to leave work, students have less missed seat time because they don’t have to leave school to attend an appointment and then come back.”

Kasiborski said the program has two years of grant funding at the moment, and efforts are being made to extend funding further.

She said there are a number of things the therapist can address.

“She can work with families to identify a treatment plan for issues like anxiety, depression, relationship and social skill building, issues related to grief or loss, work on managing behavior and emotions and help students to develop healthy coping strategies and we know that healthy students learn better.”

Boyne City Public Schools has a similar program that has been running for the last five years.

Kasiborski said funding was provided by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Charlevoix County Community Foundation, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.