Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps to determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life—from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. Over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:
· Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
· Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
· Family history of mental health problems
Mental health problems are common, but help is available. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.
Through a school-based mental health services collaboration with Alta Pointe Health Services, students in the Baldwin County Public School System are afforded an opportunity to meet with school-based mental health therapists while on their school campuses as opposed to having to visit the Alta Pointe office in Fairhope.
However, in order for students to meet with school-based mental health therapists, their parents must have one of the following types of insurance: Medicaid, ALL KIDS, PEEHIP, or State Employee Insurance (SEIB). For those students whose parents have private insurance, they, too, will be able to meet with mental health therapists during the school day. However, they will only be provided with three sessions. After they have reached the maximum number of times they can be seen on the school campus, an assessment will be given to determine the need for continued services
The goal of this collaboration is to ensure that students have access to high-quality mental health prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. Additionally, the aim is to achieve greater integration of mental health services between the community mental health centers and the public schools and to increase the utilization of evidence-based practices.
School counselors, school social workers, or students’ parents may complete the Alta Pointe referral form and give it to the mental health therapist assigned to the student’s school. Another option is for the referral form to be given to the Assistant Director of Children’s Outpatient Services at Alta Pointe, and they will ensure that the referral form is received by the therapist.