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|New School Based Mental Health Showing Immediate Results|
For struggling families with limited transportation options, it can be a challenge to get to VIP for weekly appointments. To try and ease this burden and expand our impact on the community, staff at VIP’s Community Mental Health Center have worked out an agreement with the Department of Mental Health and the Los Angeles Unified School District to begin offering mental health services at area schools.
Instead of children trying to come into VIP after school, our therapists are traveling out to school sites and spending a portion of their day on campus seeing clients. Right now this program is being offered at four campuses in the neighborhoods around VIP – two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. Staff is negotiating to expand the program soon, and the demand for services on the current campuses continues to rise.
Kristin Martin, LMFT, who supervises the school-based programs, says it is going extremely well and the children are responding very positively. Children meet with their therapists once a week, just as if they were coming to VIP. But instead of having to travel here after school, they can just walk down the hall. Children are being referred for services by school staff, and each week the children’s appointment time changes so they don’t miss the same class every time.
Martin says that by going out to the schools, therapists can better assess just how well a child is doing in their real world environment and see if they are actually making progress. In the short time the service has been offered, in addition to dealing with their trauma children are also showing improved attendance and better grades. As Martin explained, having that extra set of eyes and ears on a child makes them a little more cautious and helps them make better decisions.
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