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Kent County School-Based Mental Health Services Making a Difference

Kent County School-Based Mental Health Services Making a Difference

For All Seasons has had a presence in Kent County for 15 years. In addition to its office currently located at 516 Washington Avenue in Chestertown, For All Seasons has provided school-based mental health services in Kent County since 2009.  The United Way of Kent County has supported school-based mental health services in Kent County through For All Seasons since 2015, funding those children that are un- or underinsured and would not be able to receive these services without the support of the United Way.

Two school-based counselors see almost 100 children in Kent County throughout the school year. Many of the children receive follow-up therapy in the summer through the Horizon Summer School and Kent County Parks and Recreation Summer Program, providing a continuum of care throughout the year. Issues that these school-based counselors address in Kent County are ADHD, mood disorders, oppositional behavior, anxiety, anger management, trauma, bullying, cyber bullying, family issues related to divorce, drug abuse, and financial loss. Both counselors are trauma-certified. The counselors provide cognitive behavioral therapy, grief therapy, and trauma therapy. The numbers of students being supported by the program have been steadily increasing over the years. Individual, group and family counseling are provided through school-based services.

According to Beth Everett, Executive Director of United Way of Kent County, “From the anecdotal information that I hear, it seems that children who receive services are better behaved in class, get more out of the lessons their teachers are trying to provide, get along much better with their peers, and are generally happier children.” She adds, “I also hear that, because of these school interventions, the families involved can also receive services, which may get at the root of the problem, so it doesn’t reach the school.”

Some of the other benefits of school-based mental health services are:

  • There is a team approach that involves the school and the family, as well as the primary care provider.
  • Information is shared with the team as issues develop.
  • School-based counselors are available to school officials as issues develop.
  • There is more continuity and convenience to having services located at the school. Students don’t often miss their appointments.
  • These services improve students’ academic performance and interpersonal skills.
  • A variety of insurances are accepted, but not required to receive services.

Jane Feigleson, MSW, LCSW-C, School-Based Counselor and Therapist, has been with For All Seasons for nine years and serves in all the Kent County schools. She states, “This is a voluntary program, but referrals come to the school-based counselors from guidance counselors, school social workers, principals, family members, and churches. The school social workers have been very successful in connecting kids to For All Seasons when necessary for more intensive services. There is no waiting list for the services and no one is ever turned away.”  Jane is also certified in Advanced Trauma Treatment.

She adds, “We are a helper – we help students be more successful in school and in the community. It is so rewarding.”

Michelle Priddy, LGPC, School-Based Counselor and Therapist at For All Seasons, works in Rock Hall Elementary, Garnett Elementary in Chestertown, and Chestertown Middle School and treats adults and children, as well as provides family counseling and couples therapy in For All Seasons’ office in Chestertown. She adds, “Parents decide where their children will be seen – either in the school setting or in For All Seasons’ office off-site. Most trauma-based therapy is done in our office to provide additional privacy.”