Mental health partnership in local schools much needed

Schools used to worry about reading, writing and arithmetic when it came to meeting students’ needs. Today, some schools are facing the problem of providing clothing and hygiene products, food, after-school care, some basic health care and mental health services to their students.

“If the needs of these children are not met, learning is really difficult for them,” said Fort Frye Superintendent Stephanie Starcher, in discussing the “wrap-around” services available in the district.

Starcher described the need for such a suite of services as “profound.” It prompted an agreement with Life and Purpose Services of Marietta to provide a full-time mental health therapist in the district.

Too many local children are facing challenges that would tax the mental health and behavioral stability of many adults. And for some of these kids, the only place they can get help managing their response to those challenges comes at school.

Certainly, local schools must find the resources to provide such help for the kids in their charge.

But given the alternative, the effort to give kids all the tools they need to learn and be successful is well worth the price.

“It’s help for the whole child, a cocoon of services that are intricately tied to one another,” Starcher said.

In the long run, this approach might turn out to be a benefit to us all.