SHS Connects Students to Mental Health Assistance

SHS Connects Students to Mental Health Assistance

Kids struggle with mental health every day but are reluctant to ask for help when they need it.

Susquehannock is more than willing to help with various programs like the Student Assist Program (SAP), Pennsylvania Comprehensive Behavioral Health (PCBH), True North counseling services and the Caring Place.

The school provides SAP which helps students get a variety of different services, while True North is an agency that provides SAP Interventions, according to counselor Dr. Billie Jean Miller.

“The Student Assistance Program (SAP) is utilized when we have students who are struggling academically, socially, or emotionally, and we are uncertain what interventions may be best to support the student,” Miller said. “Oftentimes, we have attempted a number of interventions with limited success and need additional feedback.  The Student Assistance Program provides a licensed mental health professional who meets with a student three times to collect information about the situation, and then that person provides feedback about possible interventions.  Sometimes those interventions are within the school day, and at other times, those interventions are within the community.”

Another service available to students is the Caring Place. Child Protective Services agent Bianca Gonzalez works with this group to provide a grief group for students who have lost a close family member or friend.  The group aides students in processing their grief and to create strategies to help them move forward.

PCBH also provides therapeutic services for students.

“They are an outside provider who comes into the building…,” Miller said. “This helps students [to] not have to miss a lot of school, since their appointments occur within the school building during the school day.  PCBH works with students who need support with mental or behavioral health issues.”

Gonzalez, alongside the counseling department,  is always here to help students gain access to these resources in order to improve their mental health, whether that is with getting them in contact with a therapist or just helping them until they can find a therapist.

“I like to tell students that I’m a one-stop shop,” Gonzalez said. “If they don’t know where to go or who to talk to, I can help them figure that out.”

The doors to counselors’ doors in the counseling office hallway are open to students.
Photograph by Alicia Baker

Some students who have recently been struggling are student-athletes.

High school football coach and physical education teacher Joseph Sorice thinks that athletes’ mental health is important.

“More and more and more student-athletes are getting outside pressure, whether it be from the family system, whether it be from social media, their peers,” Sorice said. “The student-athletes and students involved in extracurriculars are just under more pressure nowadays to perform to live up to expectations, whether it be parents, friends or even their own.”

The counseling department is always here to support students and provide short term help until students get more professional help.

The laptop where students sign in for counselling.
Photograph by Alicia Baker

Counselor Matthew Shervington is one of four guidance counselors working to help students get mental health in a quicker manner.

“Unfortunately in York county, the average wait to get seen for an initial assessment for mental health with a therapist or out patient group is about six to nine months, but by working with the school counselors, the school social worker and working with the school based patient program that can be two weeks to two months to get a referral to see someone,” Shervington said.

Students can email their counselor or walk down to the counselor’s office to seek help from any of these services.

This is the counseling services entrance where students can go for counseling.
Photograph by Alicia Baker
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