School District Receives $75,000 Mental Health Grant, Adds New Position

Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) The School District of Marshfield is the recipient of a two-year, $75,000 School-Based Mental Health Services Grant that will allow students better access to mental health care.

The Department of Public Instruction oversaw a competitive grant process made possible by an increase in funding after the signing of the state’s 2019-21 biennial budget. The department distributed $6.5 million to 120 public school districts and one independent charter school for services to support students’ mental health.

The Marshfield School Board accepted the grant at its August meeting. The school district will use it to fund a full-time Mental Health Coordinator/Navigator position. The individual will lead mental health consortium meetings, serve as a liaison between schools, families, and the community, monitor laws, and provide trainings for students, parents, and staff.

The district’s new mental health consortium worked on connecting students with community mental health providers within the school itself. Access to mental health services might otherwise be difficult for students because of transportation and financial restraints.

“Community mental health providers will now have the opportunity to be a part of building student service team meetings and collaborate with our staff on student interventions so that we can all work on the same goals and support students and families as a comprehensive team,” said Tracey Kelz, Director of Student Services.

The coordinator/navigator will also implement a referral pathway system beginning this upcoming school year which was developed by the consortium. The system outlines how students get referred in the school by mental health providers, which are assigned to certain schools and have schedules. A team then reviews the referral concerns and determines options for the student, such as more intervention or setting up meetings with a provider.

Additionally, the position will help implement a universal behavioral screener system for the 2020-21 academic year that identifies students who need extra assistance. Details for this system are currently being determined.