Calumet County schools team up to help improve community mental health

Updated: May. 25, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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CALUMET COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) - Calumet County school districts team up with Samaritan Counseling Center of the Fox Valley to improve the children’s mental health.

Brillion, Chilton, Hilbert, New Holstein and Stockbridge schools see power in numbers. And now, all five are working together to improve the mental health of the community.

“Being able to have this resource and have an organization and a teammate like Samaritan to come in and all the foundation partners to help fund this, it opened up new opportunities for our students that our students never had before,” says Curt Meshak, principal of Stockbridge schools.

The initiative is called “Thrive Calumet,” and it uses school-based mental health screenings to determine what -- if any -- services particular students need.

According to Rosangela Berbert, executive director of Samaritan Counseling Center, “Our case workers will get the scores, and the students that score high according to the standards will be identified as positive, and we are going to do a debriefing conversation with them to identify were there mistakes in the answer or if there is a crisis brewing there and, if that’s the case, the caseworker will contact the parent and help them connect with services.”

By bringing these mental health services to the students, as opposed to making them travel to appointments, Thrive Calumet will open more opportunities for students and their families to get they help they need.

New Holstein middle school counselor Casey Suttner adds, “We’re really limited with the amount of help we can provide, and I always tells people that we’re there to support them when they’re at school but I can’t do intensive mental health care with them. So, to have somebody that we can turn to say hey this is beyond what I’m capable of, this goes beyond my boundaries but I have a resource for you and it’s here and it’s in our building will be a huge help.”

Launched this spring, Thrive Calumet is already working with students and their families. The program will continue to grow by adding bilingual counseling as well as substance abuse counseling.

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