Cove ISD increases mental health services as students return to school

Special to Leader-Press 


The COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures implemented by the state of Texas and the world have caused disruptions to daily routines. For children and adolescents with mental health needs, closures mean a lack of access to the resources they usually have through schools. 

For the 2020-2021 school year, Copperas Cove ISD Director of Behavioral Support Services Rhonda Burnell says CCISD is introducing two new programs aimed at providing school-based mental health services.

“Through grants and federal programing, CCISD continues to invest as a district in building our capacity to better serve students’ social emotional needs,” Burnell said. “As insurance coverage in the state of Texas continues to be reduced for telehealth mental health counseling, the school district is preparing to provide services that will assess and identify the behavioral health needs of children and adolescents. This program will be available districtwide with access for students on all campuses.”

CCISD has taken advantage of The Texas Child Health Access Network Through Telemedicine that creates legislatively funded telemedicine programs for identifying and assessing student mental health needs and providing access to mental health services in schools. 

Students assessed with mental health needs are referred to the TCHATT program that is an initiative of the Texas Children’s Mental Health Care Consortium. The program provides pediatric and adolescent behavioral health services via telehealth through a partnership with Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin. 

CCISD is also implementing a second student behavioral health program that is grant-based and provided through School Based Healthcare Solutions Network. The grant’s mission is to fund and support under-resourced public schools to implement and expand access to quality behavioral health and general pediatric services on school campuses to children living in rural and urban communities. 

The program provides a full-time licensed mental health provider on campus. Students will have in-class school-based blended behavioral and motivational support systems designed to promote student success and enhance social emotional development. 

Additionally, the program will provide up to $5,000 per campus to provide student service activities over a five-year period. This program is only available at specified campuses with demonstrated student need.

“We are excited about the opportunity we have for students and families and will make information available to parents before any of these programs begin,” Burnell said. “Parents will have the opportunity to understand in more detail what these services are and how they could potentially benefit the students. No student is allowed to participate in any of the aforementioned programs without prior parental consent.” 

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