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School-Based Services Q & A

Lidia Harding
Blog For parents Q&A School-based
Co-occurring substance use and mental health education programs

Common Questions on YES’ School-Based Services

Q. Why provide services in schools?
A. Many young people are not comfortable walking into a behavioral health agency to request services or are unable to travel to YES’ offices due to economic factors or family situations. To overcome these barriers, YES offers school-based services and programs to engage and reach youth in need of services.
These services and programs enhance the schools’ efforts by helping at-risk and high-risk students develop the skills they need to become well-adjusted young adults. Research shows that supporting youth with their social/emotional health has a positive impact on increasing school attendance, engagement, and learning.

Q. How does school-based therapy work?
A. Students are referred by school administrators, counselors, teachers, parents, other students, and themselves. The YES therapist conducts a screening or comprehensive assessment to determine how to best support the student. They may offer intervention programs to students facing disciplinary actions; brief interventions for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bullying; education programs that highlight the risks of substance use; referrals to community resources; or arrange for ongoing care at YES.

Q. How do counselors and school staff work together?
A. YES therapists collaborate with school counselors and administrators to create a wraparound approach to support students with significant needs. They educate school staff on the most recent drug trends, provide community presentations (e.g., PTSA meetings, parent nights) on mental health and substance use topics, and present to the school’s Health and Psychology classes.

Q. What types of therapies are used?
A. Counselors use harm reduction and Motivational Interviewing strategies to assist students in being their own agent of change and in making thoughtful decisions about their behavior — while also making efforts to decrease harm to themselves and their communities. Support groups for those affected by substance use are often facilitated by counselors, depending on the needs of the school and its students.

Q. What issues are most common?
A. Common issues in schools include truancy, anxiety, depression, family conflicts/issues, substance use either by the student and/or their family members, legal problems and academic stress. Many young people who are using substances also experience a mental health concern, and it’s considered best practice to treat these issues concurrently. In-school counselors are trained to treat both mental health and substance abuse issues, and their focus is on serving students who are experiencing both.

Whether you’re a teen, a caring friend, a parent or a concerned adult, you can reach our to YES for help – or simply to ask questions about what services might be best for you or a young person you know. You may visit us at our Bellevue location during our walk-in Open Access hours (Tuesday & Thursday 12 – 4 P.M.) for an assessment of mental health and substance use issues or contact us to schedule an appointment at 425-747-4937.

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