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Increasing Access Through School-Based Services

Lidia Harding
Blog For parents Q&A
school-based services

Youth Eastside Services (YES) partners with the Lake Washington and Bellevue School Districts to provide two types of school-based services, Behavioral Health Support Specialists and Fee-Based Mental Health Counseling.*

YES Behavioral Health Support Specialists

Behavioral Health Support Specialists are dually-certified mental health and substance use counselors who work within middle and high schools to provide a full spectrum of services to students at no charge.

Services and programs may include:

  • On-site screenings and assessments for mental health and substance use issues.
  • Short-term individual and/or group counseling and support.
  • Response to disciplinary infractions.
  • Suicide risk assessments.
  • Educational presentations for school staff, students, and parents on mental health and substance use-related issues.
  • Referrals to community resources, including ongoing care at YES.
  • Parental support through consultation, education and resource referrals.

Fee-Based Mental Health Counseling

In order to decrease the barriers to accessing services YES also provides fee-based 1-to-1 counseling by Master’s-level therapists and professional Master’s-level interns. This weekly intensive individual counseling supports students who are unable to access services outside of school. Fee-based counseling is dependent on availability and is billed to insurance or Medicaid.

* Not all services and programs are offered within each school. To learn more about what is available at your child’s school, please  contact the school office or school counselor.

 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.

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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