Warsaw School Board Hears About Mental Health Services For Students

May 14, 2024 at 8:59 p.m.

By JACKIE GORSKI Lifestyles Editor

With May being Mental Health Awareness month, the Warsaw School Board learned Tuesday about the corporation’s mental health services from therapists Cara Allebach and Stephanie Winey.
Allebach said mental health includes how people connect to others, how you act in your daily living and how people respond if there’s a conflict in their life.
A big focus as therapists is to decrease the stigma around mental health, Allebach said.
Twenty percent of children ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition. Fifty percent of all mental health conditions begin by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. One in four parents find it difficult to get their child mental health services. The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years, Allebach said.
Winey said there are eight mental health therapists at WCS. Their job is to work with students who receive special education services; build a connection and rapport to do important work with students and staff; participate in the evaluation process and consult with teachers, staff and administrators about concerns related to student/family trauma and emotional and mental health needs.
There are 126 students at the elementary school level and 122 students at the secondary level receiving mental health services at WCS schools.
Allebach said students outside of special education services are not included in their numbers.
Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said students outside of special education services can receive services through the Bowen Center for free.
Activities with students include individual sessions, small group sessions, family sessions, crisis interventions and assessments, Winey said. With the end of the school year soon, the mental health therapists are or will be scheduling time with their students for the summer.
Director of Special Services Kelly Meeks said they are always trying to fine tune the amount of time therapists spend with each student, as it depends on the severity or nature of the student’s condition.
Board member Tom Westerhof asked what is done with graduating seniors receiving their services. Winey said they do make referrals to outside services.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized the Madison Elementary School chess team for being champions at the national competition in Columbus, Ohio, recently.
• Recognized corporation treasurer Danielle Raber and deputy treasurer Ruchele Sammons for receiving their Indiana Association of School Business Officials chief business officer certification.
• Recognized the staff members receiving scholarships through the school corporation to further their education.


With May being Mental Health Awareness month, the Warsaw School Board learned Tuesday about the corporation’s mental health services from therapists Cara Allebach and Stephanie Winey.
Allebach said mental health includes how people connect to others, how you act in your daily living and how people respond if there’s a conflict in their life.
A big focus as therapists is to decrease the stigma around mental health, Allebach said.
Twenty percent of children ages 13-18 live with a mental health condition. Fifty percent of all mental health conditions begin by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24. One in four parents find it difficult to get their child mental health services. The average delay between onset of symptoms and intervention is eight to 10 years, Allebach said.
Winey said there are eight mental health therapists at WCS. Their job is to work with students who receive special education services; build a connection and rapport to do important work with students and staff; participate in the evaluation process and consult with teachers, staff and administrators about concerns related to student/family trauma and emotional and mental health needs.
There are 126 students at the elementary school level and 122 students at the secondary level receiving mental health services at WCS schools.
Allebach said students outside of special education services are not included in their numbers.
Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert said students outside of special education services can receive services through the Bowen Center for free.
Activities with students include individual sessions, small group sessions, family sessions, crisis interventions and assessments, Winey said. With the end of the school year soon, the mental health therapists are or will be scheduling time with their students for the summer.
Director of Special Services Kelly Meeks said they are always trying to fine tune the amount of time therapists spend with each student, as it depends on the severity or nature of the student’s condition.
Board member Tom Westerhof asked what is done with graduating seniors receiving their services. Winey said they do make referrals to outside services.
In other business, the board:
• Recognized the Madison Elementary School chess team for being champions at the national competition in Columbus, Ohio, recently.
• Recognized corporation treasurer Danielle Raber and deputy treasurer Ruchele Sammons for receiving their Indiana Association of School Business Officials chief business officer certification.
• Recognized the staff members receiving scholarships through the school corporation to further their education.


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