Schools, Wheeler team up for behavioral health services

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

Plainville Community Schools have partnered with Wheeler Clinic to offer school-based behavioral health services for students and their families starting in October at Linden Street School and eventually expanding to middle and high school by the end of the school year.

“This is an amazing opportunity to support our children,” said Linden Street School principal Paula Eshoo. “It eases the stress for the family, because services will be during the school day and increasing emotional health at a critical time of a child’s development.”

The health center at Linden was created “to assist students with anxiety, depression, academic and peer challenges, trauma-related issues and more,” as listed in a press release.

Some services provided include integrated behavioral health assessments, individual, family or targeted group therapy, coordination of care with the school, and facilitation of medication management, primary and dental care at Wheeler’s Health and Wellness Centers in Bristol, New Britain and Hartford.

“We believe in the health of our children: physically, academically, emotionally, behaviorally and socially,” said Eshoo. “What we have found is that some children need a level of care best provided by professionals accredited in this type of service, such as Wheeler personnel.”

The services will be provided through family Medicaid, Medicare and commercial health insurance programs, however no patient will be denied services based on an inability to pay.

“The Center for Disease Control’s latest statistics show that 1 in 5 school age children experience a mental disorder in a given year, including ADHD, anxiety, depression, behavior disorders, learning and developmental disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder, just to name a few, said PCS’s director of special services Vicki Trzcinski in a press release. “Children and families are also coping with many stressors or have experienced trauma and need support.”

State Representative Dr. William Petit (R-22) said that Plainville is not far off from other surrounding towns in that people are experiencing similar diagnoses, and stressed the importance of being able to get the help they need.

“It’s great to have a program like this in our schools, because teachers spend a lot of time with these students, and they will be able to pick up on certain changes in behavior that might be missed at home,” said Petit. “It’s like having another set of eyes, another layer of support. That’s very helpful.”

In a press release, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett said, “In PCS, we are committed to meeting the needs of all our students. This collaboration with Wheeler Clinic is another positive step towards making sure all of our students can be available for learning.”

Comments? Email scyr@southingtonobserver.com.