BETTENDORF - Vera French mental health representatives have been in Pleasant Valley schools for about 10 years. Starting this school year, the program has expanded. They now have mental health professionals in the junior high and high schools.
According to Vera French's school-based therapy manager, Jennifer Streets, Pleasant Valley elementary and grade schools have benefited from their school therapy program.That's why they felt it was time to expand to higher grade levels.
"As mental health issues become more prevalent among younger children the need is increasing tremendously," Streets said.
In the past, if students older than elementary level needed therapy, they had to either miss class or go after school. Assistant superintendent Brian Strusz says being able to assist children in school offices can help keep them from falling too far behind.
"We know that we have junior high and high school students who have additional needs as well, and we haven't been servicing them to the best of our ability, and through this partnership with Vera French, we now can help address those needs on a weekly basis within our school setting," Strusz said.
Therapists in the upper grade levels can also provide more specialized care for older children.
"As the kids grow up we change our approach a little bit ...so they build these really long standing, stable relationships with the kids," Streets said.
Vera French plans to expand the program in the future as more resources become available and as need grows.
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