The Bement school board on Jan. 8 heard an update on new county-wide therapy services that have been added in three county school districts, thanks to a partnership between Kirby Medical Center, the Piatt County Mental Health Department and the DeWitt-Piatt Bi-County Health Department.
Mental Health Department Director Tony Kirman was present to present information to the board. He said the idea of the partnership is a “desire was to reduce barriers to treatment, improve access, and to come alongside the faculty as an additional support tool.”
Therapist Louanna Miller has met with numerous children in a confidential setting in the district once per week. The board was wowed by the statistics Kirkman was able to gather.
Around 15 students participated, mostly middle school boys, with almost half meeting the criteria for anxiety and depression, said Kirkman. He added the students that participated represented 4.8 percent of the district and there were around 50 sessions completed at the district.
Superintendent Sheila Greenwood added, “if you look at the statistics with that with our male population, that is In a way kind of unheard of even that percentage of men made that connection with her. So that’s that’s pretty unique and outstanding.”
Kirkman present an “ACE” questionnaire to the board which asks things like, “where you touched by a person 5 years old or older than you,” “did you feel often that you didn’t have enough to eat,” “were you pushed or shoved,” “have your parents separated or divorced,” and more.
The survey helps gauge traumatic events that can help shape children.
Kirkman added that the Bement district has been one of the most accommodating to the partnership.
“If you advocate for mental health treatment, then you’re making it available, you’re acknowledging that there is a mental health need. And some places don’t choose to say that we’ve got things that we need to work on,” he said.
Idea in Bulldog Minute
Donna Sharp led the Bulldog Minute at the meeting. She is one of the licensed guidance counselors for the district and has a new idea for collecting data from alums.
Her idea is to conduct a new survey system through email rather than addresses to see how past students feel about their education at Bement.
Previously the district subscribed to a service called Life Track. This service contacted the students in their first year after graduation and the fifth year. The new system is something the counselors want to create as their own, in hopes of having more response.
“What we are proposing is to do our own survey contacting graduates via email and asking them about their experiences at Bement High School. We can compose our own questions and hopefully will get a better percentage of graduates responding,” said Sharp.
Greenwood told the board there is no update on the Dan Brue investigation. The FBI stated to her that they will have an update in about a month.
Press Plus 102 updates read and approved.
There are 16 high school students participating in Scholastic Bowl, which started Thursday.
There is an Illinois Youth Survey given to 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students during the first week of February. Principal Kepley said, “the results of this survey enables our school to identify issues that our students deal with and provide support and education in these areas.”
School therapist report card
Days of service – 9
Students resourced – 15
Counseling sessions – 50
Percentage of students seen with at least three Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – 40%
Diagnoses – Anxiety/Depression, 47%; ADHD, 7%; Adjustment Disorder, 14%, Sexual Abuse, 7%; Other, 25%
Grade level representation – Elementary (K-5), 3%; Middle/Junior High (6-8), 47%; High School, (9-12), 40%
Days of service – 12
Students resourced – 14
Counseling sessions – 56
Percentage of students seen with at least three Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – 43%
Diagnoses – Anxiety/Depression, 57%; ADHD, 7%; Adjustment Disorder, 14%, Sexual Abuse, 14%; Other, 8%
Grade level representation – Elementary (K-5), 21%; Middle/Junior High (6-8), 50%; High School, (9-12), 29%
Days of service – 20
Students resourced – 30
Counseling sessions – 114
Percentage of students seen with at least three Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) – 37%
Diagnoses – Anxiety/Depression, 47%; ADHD, 17%; Adjustment Disorder, 17%, Sexual Abuse, 0%; Other, 19%
Grade level representation – Elementary (K-5), 24%; Middle/Junior High (6-8), 44%; High School, (9-12), 32%
Overall, in 65 days of service, 59 individual students were resourced, and 293 individual counseling sessions completed. A total of 31 percent of students reside in home with both biological parents, and 42 percent had a prior mental health history. In the family history of those served, 39 percent had at least one member of the family with a history of current and/or past mental health, 20 percent had ate least one member of the family with a history of substance use, and 20 percent had at least one parent with a criminal conviction.