YVMC gives $150K to local schools for behavioral health | SteamboatToday.com

YVMC gives $150K to local schools for behavioral health

Students congregate in the cafeteria of Soda Creek Elementary on the first day of school in 2013.

— Yampa Valley Medical Center has gifted $150,000 to Routt County’s three school districts in an effort to boost behavioral health services and education.

The Steamboat Springs School District received $100,000 for the 2016-17 school year, while the South Routt School District and Hayden School District each were given $25,000.

YVMC CEO Frank May said he hopes the gifts, approved by the hospital’s board of directors, will help improve education efforts, including those related to substance abuse.

The hospital left it up to district leaders to decide specifically how to spend the money.

May said helping support and partner with other community organizations closely aligns with the hospital’s new strategic plan.

“The health of this community is one of those things we need to take more of a leadership role with,” May said. “We felt like this was a great way to help.”

The Steamboat Springs School District will use the money to contract with Mind Springs Health for the hiring of two behavioral health professionals, who will work in the district for the 2016-17 school year.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said he was “stunned, surprised and humbled by the hospital’s generosity.”

The money will help the district fill gaps in behavioral health services, which district leaders thought they would be left with due to budget constraints this year, according to Marty Lamansky, district director of teaching and learning.

Lamansky said it’s critical for youth to have mental health issues addressed before they can focus on success as a students.

“In this increasingly complex world that we live in, students are often caught up in a variety of circumstances that place incredible stress on them, leading to mental health issues,” Lamansky said. “When students are faced with these mental health issues, that becomes the priority for them … it is essential to address those issues so that they can then focus in on the business of school.”

Currently, Mind Springs Health provides three free behavioral health sessions for students in need, and the district has funding from the Craig-Scheckman Family Foundation for intensive therapy for Yampa Valley High School students, specifically.

The South Routt School District will use its $25,000 to hire a part-time temporary case manager for the district’s mental health team, a move that will ensure the district’s current counselor spends less time scheduling appointments and organizing data and more time directly serving students.

The Hayden School District will use its share to supplement funding for a district behavioral health specialist, who will specifically work with a severe needs secondary student and two elementary students with behavior needs.

May said the non-profit YVMC was glad to be in a position to help districts this year, adding the hospital would revisit its finances next year and receive feedback from the districts before considering whether it’s feasible to give funding the following year.

“We were very pleased to be in a position to help,” May said.

The Steamboat Springs Board of Education plans to recognize and thank YVMC during a meeting in mid-August.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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