Six more Idaho schools are now able to support students with behavioral health needs thanks to a grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. The schools each received a Technical Assistance Award that will enable them to offer school-located behavioral health services starting this fall.
The Healthy Minds Partnership is a collaborative effort between schools and behavioral health partners to bring clinical behavioral health services to schools so students can conveniently access necessary care. Offering these services at school helps limit student absences, makes things easier on parents who don’t have to take time off work or worry about transportation to get kids to these appointments. The Technical Assistance Award that each school received helps build the framework and process for providing services in the schools.
The schools implementing the Healthy Minds Partnership and their behavioral health partners are:
• Orofino Junior/Senior High School (A to Z Counseling)
• Timberline School in Weippe (A to Z Counseling)
• Cardinal Academy Public Charter School in Boise (Children’s Home Society)
• Elevate Academy #523 in Caldwell (Children’s Home Society)
• Shoshone Elementary School (Family Health Services)
• Shoshone Secondary School (Family Health Services)
“Our district has one counselor for kindergarten through 12th grade, as well as an alternative school,” Shoshone School Principal Kelly Wilkins said. “Our counselor does an amazing job; however, one person cannot meet all the needs of our student body. The Healthy Minds Partnership will provide additional mental health support for our students, and I’m excited we can collaborate to meet the social and emotional needs of our student body.”
Each school is working with a local behavioral health provider who offers services on campus. The services are reimbursable by private insurance and Medicaid, making the Healthy Minds Partnership cost effective for schools, families and healthcare providers.
Family Health Services, which is the behavioral health partner with the Shoshone schools, has been operating the Healthy Mind Partnership in schools in Cassia County and Twin Falls. Family Health Services CEO Aaron Houston said he’s seen the impact from kids receiving care at school.
“Our counselor gave us personal stories of the kids he’s helped, and he believes in his heart that he saved at least two lives by being in the school helping those kids,” Houston said. “This is truly a fantastic partnership with long-lasting effects. I really think we’re going to help thousands of kids and hope that we’re still doing this 20-plus years from now. I think it’s a sustainable partnership.”
The Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health has directly helped more than 25 schools launch the Healthy Minds Partnership through these technical assistance awards. Many of those schools have worked with others in their district to expand the partnership to provide greater access to behavioral health services.
“Access to behavioral health services is a pressing need in Idaho,” said Kendra Witt-Doyle, Executive Director of the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health. “The Healthy Minds Partnership ensures that Idaho youth receive the services they need so they can focus on learning. We’re happy to see this program offered at more Idaho schools because it provides access to behavioral health services.”