GREAT FALLS — Alluvion Health announced they are collaborating with Great Falls Public Schools in offering behavioral health services at Whittier Elementary School.
Many Whittier students live at or below the poverty line, which not only means they are more likely to experience mental health problems, but also seeking assistance can be more difficult as well.
Whittier Elementary Principal Corri Smith stated, "I think one of the biggest things is that I see as a win-win for everybody is that the kiddos can just walk to any services because they're school-based. We have parents that work 2-3 jobs, and to be able to get their kids, come pick them up from school, get them to a doctor's appointment or therapist appointment, and getting them back to school is really hard when earning a living. What we have here is the services provided at the school. Kids can walk from their classroom after parents have given them permission. They can get the services and walk back to class. It's a win-win for everybody."
Smith added, "We have a 100% free-reduced breakfast and lunch, and that's one of the things parents are working to in 3 jobs. Having services here is helpful, just like having breakfast and lunch for them.
Services include therapeutic services, mental health assessments, diagnosis, and more. Services will be provided by Alluvion Health’s PLCPC, Nikki Ritland. Ritland specializes in behavioral health services for children with anxiety, depression, ADHD, and spectrum disorders.
Trevor Bolton, Alluvion Health's School and Employer Wellness Director, stated, "We've been working with GFPS for the past few years. Whittier has always been on our list of schools to provide behavioral health therapy to, and the opportunity presented itself. We've worked with Corri at Whittier, the school district, and the staff to help get us there."
Bolton said not only does it help the parents. It's also about preparing students for adulthood.
"Early intervention is key," he said. "Especially in elementary school. Helping them cope and deal with their situations right now and moving forward. Having the tools and resources to help them deal with those circumstances.
As of right now, services are offered to students Mondays and Fridays, but Alluvion is working to provide them throughout the week from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM.
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