Students at Destrehan and Hahnville High Schools can now be seen for therapy on campus during school hours for everything from anxiety, depression, trauma, stress, anger management, relationship issues, and more thanks to an expansion of school-based health services by Access Health Louisiana.
“We’re very excited that Access Health Louisiana is expanding behavioral health services to our two high school campuses,” Jerry L. Smith, Executive Director of Student Services for the school district, said. “St. Charles Parish Public Schools has newly launched universal screening for behavioral health needs to help us identify students who may be experiencing trauma and other adverse childhood experiences. This expanded partnership with Access Health will support the school system’s post-screening triage process and enable students to receive therapy in an expedited manner for a variety of behavioral health needs, including trauma, anxiety, depression and other stressors.”
Smith said being able to receive these services on their school campuses will support academic success for district students, as well as eliminate the need for students to leave school to receive treatment.
This makes a total of seven schools serviced by AHL in the St. Charles Parish school district – J.B. Martin Middle, R.J. Vial Elementary, Albert Cammon Middle, St. Rose Elementary, Luling Elementary and now DHS and HHS.
“We are excited to grow our school-based services within St. Charles Parish,” Vice President of School Health and Strategic Media for Access Health Louisiana Chenier Reynolds-Montz said. “We have seen an increase in the need for services on school campuses throughout the state due to the pandemic. It has been a difficult couple of years for students with so many having to alter their routine due to the pandemic. Couple the pandemic with families living in hurricane-damaged homes and portable trailers, and the need for support is great.”
Parents pay no out-of-pocket expense for services their child receives at the school-based health center. Students can be seen for services during non-core classes throughout the school day, and individual and group therapy is available. Psychiatry services can also be scheduled virtually.
To receive services, parents must complete a consent and enrollment form for students. Even if a child is an AHL patient or has been enrolled in school-based services on their middle school campus, parents will need to complete a new consent and enrollment packet. Packets can be obtained from the school counselors, by visiting accesshealthla.org and going to the individual school-based health center page, or by completing forms sent home at the start of the school year.
Licensed Professional Counselor Amber Guidry will be full-time at HHS starting in August. She graduated from Hahnville in 1999.
“I have extensive experience working with adolescents dealing with various challenges,” she said. “I strive to provide an accepting environment for students to feel comfortable and empowered while discussing issues that may feel vulnerable.”
Reynolds-Montz said the therapist for DHS has not yet been named.