Mental health therapist at work in schools
August 9, 2018
When students return to school this fall in Cathlamet, they'll have mental health services available if they need them.
The Wahkiakum County mental health department has been able to supply a therapist to serve Wendt Elementary, Thomas Middle and Wahkiakum High schools.
Funding the school district and mental health program has paid for the two-year-old program, therapist Jasmine Lindholm said Tuesday.
The program focuses on students having issues with grades, attendance, discipline or any combination thereof.
In the program's first school year, teachers or principals referred 69 students from grades K-12 to the program. Of those, 31 were served through mental health funds, and 11 were served through school based funds.
In the second year, 52 students were referred, including 11 who had carried over from the previous year, and a total of 42 received service, 34 through mental health and eight through school based funds.
The program seems to be working very well, said Chris Bischoff, director of Wahkiakum Health and Human Services.
A new benefit is the Hope Center, the mental health program's new quarters in the former Congregational Church across South Third Street from the schools. It gives staff space and privacy they often have a hard time finding in the schools to meet with students.
"That helps lower the barriers for service," said Trystan Wozniak, the county's behavior health program manager. "We can start serving students sooner."