School-Based Mental Health Program

Family Service Association’s re-vamped School-Based Mental Health Program (SBMH) brings the concept of family counselling to a whole new level. Originating in 2005, through the vision of Lisa LaForge, some FSA therapists began working with students in 6 local schools to reduce the stigma of coming to an outpatient clinic for counselling. In October of 2016, the program was awarded a $600,000 grant by Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation to expand the vision of this pilot program to 10 therapists in 19 schools throughout U-46 and District 300.

The SBMH Program now formally uses the Wrap Around Model of seeing the family system in a holistic way. This model aims to wrap the family in support to help resolve any barriers to stability and provide any support necessary for the struggling family to be able to thrive again. As in the early model, the therapist will meet the student in the school, now expanding to seeing the family in their home and/or in the community for formal counselling, problem solving, and skill building. Through harnessing assistance from teachers, social workers, natural family supports, and members of the community, the therapist can effectively help the family facilitate and sustain change.

FSA is excited and proud of this partnership with the school district, looking forward to making a difference in the forward momentum of hundreds of families in our community over the next several years.

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