Education Matters: Fresno County schools supporting students faced with mental health issues

Education Matters

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE) – The Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools has forged partnerships to help address the mental health issues facing our children.

A new addition to the county’s All 4 Youth Program is reaching out to serve the community.

They call it ‘Pie With Parents,’ an afterschool event to introduce the community to the new wellness center located at Tarpey Elementary School in Clovis.

“Our parents you know being able to have access to something that can support them is going to be a great deal to help us in the long run,” said Tarpey Principal Dr. Tachua Vue.

The wellness centers are an addition to the All 4 Youth program, a partnership between the Office of the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools and the county’s Department of Behavioral Health, a unified effort to provide mental health services to students.

“And our goal is to place the clinician or case manager in every school in Fresno County and to make sure that all students have access to mental health services,” explained Trina Frazier, assistant superintendent of student services.

An All 4 Youth clinician is now in 230 schools.  The wellness centers are being added as a prevention and intervention component.

“And they really are a place for families and students to come, a safe place and receive services, connection to resources, professional development all dealing with prevention,” said Frazier.

Services offered at the wellness centers are for the entire community, other than the one located at Tarpey, there is also a center located on the campus of Fresno Pacific University

“Basically, we serve the metro, west side, and all the rural areas as well,” said Darrel Adams.

Adams is the family partner at the FPU location, and he says along with mental health, the center offers life skills.

“If you’re a student getting ready to become an adult we help you fill out resumes, we help you get some job searching skills,” Adams said.

The county plans to open two more wellness centers next year one in Riverdale and Fowler.  The goal is to intervene early and address some of the dynamics that cause stress and anxiety in children.

“We know that the need is great right now for children in our county and really this is an opportunity for parents to say look, I know where I can go, we trust our schools,” explained Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, Jim Yovino.

Superintendent Yovino says the way the county is addressing mental health has become a model statewide.

“There are people all over California, all over the United States trying to figure out how did you all do this? You know and that’s something that you know lived here my whole life that I’m really proud of because in our community we’re not about drawing something up in a plan we’re about taking action,” said Yovino.

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