This week, YES Prep Public Schools began a partnership with Legacy Community Health to provide behavioral health services and therapy to YES Prep students dealing with anxiety, depression, trauma, attention difficulties, grief, and family conflicts. Legacy will offer care on the YES Prep Gulfton and Southside campuses.
Nelly Martinez, Manager of Health and Wellness at YES Prep, wanted to forge the partnership in order to better support students. “We can’t do the hard work of advancing them academically if we’re not tackling the critical area of ensuring their well-being mentally, emotionally, and behaviorally,” added Kawana Coulon, YES Prep’s Student Support Counseling Program Manager. YES Prep currently has 29 Student Support Counselors (SSCs), who are Masters-level Counselors or Social Workers trained to provide assessments and short-term counseling in areas such as peer relationships, organization, anger management, and self-esteem. However, prior to the partnership, SSCs referred students with complex issues involving mental health, neurology, and behavioral issues to outside agencies that specialized in those concerns or could provide psychiatric services. Now, with Legacy, YES Prep will be able to provide comprehensive care in-house.
Now, with Legacy, YES Prep will be able to provide comprehensive care in-house.
Martinez and Coulon agreed that supplying behavioral health services and therapy within YES Prep’s walls, by an organization that YES Prep has vetted, will help decrease the stigma surrounding mental health care. In addition, it will mitigate some of the barriers families face in accessing mental health care services. “Many of our families don’t access [the resources] because they’d don’t know if it’s available or appropriate for their needs. Or if they’ll have to pay or if there’s a Spanish-speaking doctor, or even what documentation they’ll need,” Coulon said. When referring to Legacy, YES Prep’s SSCs will be able to have intentional conversations with families and help alleviate those concerns. Additionally, the program is available at little to no cost. Legacy accepts insurance, including Medicaid and CHIP, or a $25 self-pay fee for those without. “I liked that they aren’t going to turn people away,” Martinez stated.
According to Coulon, the partnership isn’t just about bringing the services into the school, but also providing better support for these students in the classroom. The SSCs will work with Legacy professionals to ensure the school supports treatment plans. “We could then pass on that information to teachers, without violating confidentiality, to maximize their success with that student in the classroom,” she said.
Partnering with Legacy aligns with Superintendent Mark DiBella’s charge from Kickoff. Coulon stated: “Bringing Legacy in to do this work means we’re committed to ALL students being successful on our campuses.”
For more information about the partnership, contact Recy Dunn, Vice President of Operations and Growth.
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