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Oregon Family Magazine

Lane County Schools - Connected

12/03/2018 ● By Sandy Kauten
Lane County educators are reporting a significant increase in student need for mental and behavioral support. The rising demand is not specific to our community or even our state – in fact, schools across the nation are witnessing intense need for mental and behavioral health help for students, particularly those in the early grades.

Mental and behavioral health needs often surface at school, with outbursts that vary from aggression to depression: Both pose major obstacles to learning for children who are experiencing distress as well as their classmates.

Mental health plays a huge role in a child’s long-term success in school, and all Lane County school districts consider it a high priority and are working together to provide emotional and behavioral support for students. This effort -- the School-Based Health Center Alliance -- brings together the Community Health Centers of Lane County, Bethel Health Center, PeaceHealth and the Western Lane County Behavioral Health Network.

In addition, districts take a multi-pronged approach to supporting all students, including:

  • School-based counselors
  • Class-based programs such as the “Good Behavior Game,” which helps students self-regulate and reinforces positive classroom behavior.
  • Prevention programs to help reduce the likelihood that students who are experiencing behavioral or emotional problems will abuse drugs and alcohol.
  • Peer support groups to address bullying and help make schools a safer place.

In the metro area, four school-based health centers (Churchill High, Springfield High, North Eugene High and Cascade Middle) now include mental and behavioral health supports. These clinics are often able to see students from other schools. Additional services and referrals are provided by Lane County Behavioral Health. Western Lane County Behavioral Health Network will soon open centers in both the Mapleton and Siuslaw school districts, with facilities on-site at the schools and clinicians who will make home visits.

How to Receive Professional Help

Although a school can make a recommendation that a student receive professional help, parents and students themselves can also ask for help – and insurance should not be an issue. “We are dedicated to helping families receive care. Just because you heard a ‘no’ at one place, you shouldn’t stop seeking help,” Ellen Thornton-Love, Clinical Supervisor for Child and Adolescent Health Services at Lane County Behavioral Health urges. “Walk into Lane County Public Health, and someone will help you. Call me, and I will find someone to help you.”

Local Resources:

- Lane County Behavioral Health: Lane County Behavioral Health, 2411 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., Eugene, 541- 682-1915

- Your school: If you believe your child needs mental health support, reach out to a teacher or the main office.

The physical health and wellness connection:

Mental health often affects physical health. Locally, there are many resources available for students and their families, including:

  • Lane County Behavioral Health collaborates with other local organizations to connect families with support, including Food for Lane County, CASA, Bags of Love, and the Oregon Family Support Network. They also collaborate with other organizations addressing abuse and addiction.
  • 67 schools throughout the Lane County offer free breakfast/meals. Check with your school office to find out more.
  • 15th Night has resources to help homeless youth. Call or text 541-246-4046 for access to services related to housing, clothing, transportation, or counseling.

Oregon Family is grateful to its readers and the schools who help make this resource available to families across Lane County. We receive a tremendous amount of information from the schools and in view of this, have asked Lane Education Services District to provide services, news, and observations of trends occurring in Lane County schools. If you have topics you’d like to learn more about, please share them at [email protected]