WKYT Investigates: Mental health help for FCPS students
Some school districts made students’ health a priority when re-opening during the pandemic.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - In the process of re-opening during the pandemic, some school districts made students’ health a priority. Fayette County Public Schools hired more nurses and opened more clinics on campuses.
One of the clinics, run by HealthFirst Bluegrass, is inside the new Tates Creek High School.
“We have walk ins especially when they’re acute and sick they can come down from the classroom. Their teachers call us. Their counselors call us. Something’s going on, we’re able to treat, prescribe, I can call in medications to their pharmacy. If I have a mental health issue, we have practitioners right on site,” says Nurse Practitioner Jennifer Angermeier. “We can diagnose, we can treat, and again send home that prescription if they’re needed. I think we take care of the whole person and the family.”
Angermeier’s clinic opened when the new high school did in August. The clinic averages 13 to 15 student visits a day. Right now it’s the district’s only inside a high school. HealthFirst Bluegrass operates another clinic in a middle school, and eight in elementary schools.
Outside of the clinics, the district has hired more mental health specialists.
“I could see anywhere between 3 and 7 students a day, it just depends on the needs,” says Shakira Goldsmith-Mason, a mental health specialist. Goldsmith-Mason is assigned to Tates Creek High School and Henry Clay.
“We have hired so many district mental health specialists from a variety of disciplines. We have social workers. We have school psychologists making sure we are trained adequately to recognize the symptoms that students are having. We collaborate with teachers and other staff, and we refer to other mental health services as needed,” she says. “There’s always been an attempt to care for the mental health of students, but I think it’s now at the forefront because of COVID. I feel that the social isolation that students had experienced that parents have experienced. I think it’s created almost the perfect storm of mental health needs.”
The clinics at Fayette County schools are also available to staff.
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