When the taxpayers of Seneca County voted on a new tax in 2008 for mental health and substance abuse services, the board's campaign promise was to share how levy funds were used from 2009 through 2013. We've given a brief description of crisis intervention training, the Suicide Prevention Coalition, LifeSkills, family intervention, Care Teams and Bisenius anti-bullying. Now, let's talk about in-school counseling.
The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board is proud of its collaboration with the Hancock County and the Wood County Mental Health and Recovery Services boards in meeting the needs of Fostoria Community Schools' students. The four-way agreement among the three boards and Fostoria schools is the first of its kind in Ohio, and prompted other boards with schools systems that cross county lines to look at what has been implemented in Fostoria.
In 2007, the three boards came together to determine how best to serve students by removing the barriers of payment dependent on in which county the student lived. Boards, by law, can only subsidize payment for residents of their county. The Mental Health and Recovery Services Board chose to commit levy funds to pay for its 70-percent share of the student population in Fostoria. Hancock and Wood county boards would pay the remaining 10 percent and 20 percent, respectively, with the school dedicating grant dollars to pay for services board funding would not cover.
Tiffin City Schools also has an in-school counseling program that began 16 years ago. As grant funding dried up, the school approached the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board to see if it would support the counseling program. Since 2009, this board has held a contract with the school system for the provision of counseling youth at all grade levels.
In Fostoria and Tiffin, the in-school counseling program is for a short period with the parents' permission. Providing students with the support to overcome (or to manage) emotional, crisis, trauma and psychological barriers impeding their ability to reach their full learning potential ensures that students are successful academically. Should the student require ongoing counseling, the student may be referred to a providing agency for long-term services. The majority of students require short-term counseling to address those issues with which they are dealing, such as adjustments to divorce, moving, cyber-bullying, etc.
If you would like more information, please call the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Seneca, Sandusky and Wyandot Counties at (419) 448-0640. The board's office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.