FISHERS, Indiana — With millions of dollars, school officials plan to bring more mental health services to Hamilton Southeastern Schools.
They say there haven’t been enough mental health professionals to help students for years.
Brooke Lawson, HSE’s Mental Health and School Counseling Coordinator, said, “As a district, we do not currently have the funding to take on these positions. So being able to receive additional support is very important to us. It is important.
Students at Hamilton Southeastern Schools can expect to see more school counselors, psychologists and social workers in the next five years.
This is thanks to a $5.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the bipartisan Safer Communities Act.
The goal is to reduce domestic violence.
“It’s hugely important. As a parent, I hope they come to me with all their problems, but I know that’s not realistic and I’m their age.” I’m dealing with so many different things than when I was 19,” said Lori Lambert.
According to Lawson, they recognize a gap between student needs and available mental health services.
“We are the fourth largest school district in Indiana, and our schools are not as staffed as other large school districts in the state. I think we have demonstrated something, Lawson said.
The grant is focused on increasing school counselors for high school students and social workers for elementary school students.
This year, the district will hire four counselors and three psychologists. A social worker will be hired in the third year.
“Our social workers are short-term support. They are not necessarily long-term therapists, but short-term support for children who need a little help. We need someone to teach us the skills that we may have and work with our parents,” Lawson said.
Lambert says she’s looking forward to seeing these changes in her daughter, especially after COVID-19.
“Whatever they can do in the current classroom environment, perhaps to help her and other students get through it, is that they will be able to integrate, move on, and continue to thrive, which is very welcome. ‘ said Lambert.
“We believe that this grant, the expanded access it provides, and this exposure will change the way our communities think, talk, act and care about mental health and wellness in many ways. Excited and grateful, said one HSE graduate.
HSE says the goal is to make the new position permanent.
The school district will begin searching for qualified candidates for these additional positions in the coming weeks, he added.