February is School Based Health Center Awareness Month
February is School Based Health Center Awareness Month and the Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers (SBHCs), a program of the Human Services Council, are on the front lines tackling some of the most costly health care issues for kids and teens -- in particularly obesity and mental health.
SBHCs are redefining health for kids and teens in our community by providing access to quality, comprehensive, culturally sensitive health care in a location where students are -- schools. SBHCs operate in Norwalk's three high schools providing medical and behavioral health care as well as Nathan Hale, Ponus Ridge and West Rocks Middle Schools (mental heath care only). The school based health centers provide essential health services to those who need it most, when they need it, with no out-of-pocket cost. For many young people, the health centers may be their only access to mental health care. Below are the words of a grateful parent who has seen the positive outcomes from her child utilizing the school based health center services:
"I am the mother of three children who attend Norwalk schools. Since sixth grade my daughter has used the resources of the School Based Health Centers (SBHCs) to cope with her anxiety. I was a frustrated parent and unable to help her. While attending middle school, she was introduced to the SBHCs where she could independently seek help with her anxiety at school. The social worker at the SBHCs helped her to manage her anxiety with tools. These tools helped her succeed academically and make high honors all three years. Her anxiety increased when she went to high school and was followed by physical problems. She sought the help of the SBHCs and was provided resources. She was referred to the health center's adolescent psychiatric consultant, who prescribed medication. This medication had a huge impact on her life. The most important part of the SBHCs in her life was that it was located in her school. She was able to have weekly visits at no cost and could see the social worker any time during the day if her anxiety was too high. She is in her senior year and is looking at colleges. On her list of criteria are schools that have health centers similar to the ones in the Norwalk schools that have made it possible for her to strive academically and control her anxiety. These centers are what help shape the person she has become. This year my younger son started high school. He has also been diagnosed with anxiety. I will be strongly suggesting to him to take advantage of the School Based Health Centers as well."
For information about the health centers, call 203-849-1111
Director, Dr. Robert E. Appleby School Based Health Centers