District Offers Strong Student Mental Health Support – Lakewood Observer

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As we soon head into another school year, the District wishes to share how over the past several years Lakewood City Schools has worked to grow its existing services that support student mental health and wellness. Access to these supports is available to all our elementary, middle school and high school students.

The passage of the last levy in 2020 has allowed the District to intentionally allocate funds to support student mental health and well being. At the elementary level, the District now has five full-time student wellness specialists that support the social-emotional learning needs of our youngest learners. The District also employs an independent licensed social worker, Tina Karp, to support the mental health needs of students in our district and coordinate services delivered by our community partners. The District also employs an administrator, Dr. Merritt Waters, whose focus is student wellness and who serves as our student wellness coordinator.

All 11 of our schools have school-based mental health services and support through either OhioGuidestone or Bellefaire JCB. The District also has partnerships with Recovery Resources and with the Cleveland Clinic Children’s school-based clinic, based at Lakewood High School. Through the LHS clinic, students and families have access to a Cleveland Clinic social worker, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, and a student/patient navigator (partially funded through the Three Arches Foundation). The navigator helps students and families in crisis, particularly those students transitioning back to school from a mental health hospitalization. Lakewood also partners with the Cleveland Clinic for a mobile unit. The mobile unit team includes a child psychologist and serves the District once a month and travels to various schools.

The District continues to work to grow its multi-tiered systems of support for social-emotional learning (SEL) and wellness. This coming school year, the District student wellness specialists will be trying out a new SEL curriculum at the elementary level. The District continues to train staff in mindfulness practices and offer opportunities for students to engage in restorative practices when they have caused harm to a relationship with a peer or staff member. Available reset options include helping students to develop self regulation skills and tools so they can handle stressful situations in a proactive manner and be more successful in the academic setting. Whether it be general instruction and supports that are available to all students, small group support available for those needing extra help in this area, or the most intensive support services offered, the District is working to ensure that social-emotional learning and wellness are a part of the student experience in Lakewood City Schools. If your child is in need of help this school year, please contact your child’s building administrator to learn more about what support may be available.

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