Wheaton schools partner with Access Medical
Massey: ‘There is such a growing need for mental health focus’
Mental health in students has become kind of a hot topic over the last few years, and school districts are looking into more and better options to offer its students, just like the Wheaton school district, which recently partnered up with Access Medical for the upcoming school year.
Lance Massey, Wheaton superintendent, said the school and Access Medical have come to an agreement based on referrals and parent requests.
“They will utilize some on-site staffing, as well as a telemedicine platform, to help our students with mental health issues,” he said. “They won’t be here all the time, and at this point, we don’t know exactly what it will look like.”
Massey said as a district through the counselors, parents will be contacted, and the counselors then will make arrangements through Access Medical staff members.
“Our counselor will be our liaison between the school district and Access Medical,” he said. “If there is a need for further services for a student with which Access Medical staff do not believe they can solve within the school district, then the option will be open for transfer to another Access Medical site.”
Massey said if a student needs something like family counseling, that will be handled outside of the school district.
“Nothing will be forced upon any parent or student, but if there are issues where a professional says family needs to get involved to talk about things, that will go beyond what will be facilitated on campus,” he said. “There is such a growing need for mental health focus. More and more issues are coming into light, and we hope as a district this can be an opportunity for our students to get some help if they need it.”
Massey said it also is a benefit for the parents to offer something so that they don’t have to travel too far to get a child the needed help.
“We are trying to make something that can be a service for our students, and in turn, maybe even give us a better educational environment,” he said.
Massey said there is no financial items or obligations for the school district to offer this.
“We will provide some space for this to take place in, and that will be the district’s obligation in the matter,” he said. “Access will provide the equipment needed and the district will provide the internet access they will need.”
Massey said at the June board meeting the Board of Education signed a memorandum of understanding with Access Medical, which lays out the broad details of the plan.
“Parents should also know that a representative from Access Medical will be at the Wheaton school district’s open house,” he said. “That is a good opportunity for parents who have questions to take some time and visit with the representative at the open house.”