Nashville, Tenn. — Clarksville-Montgomery County School System (CMCSS) has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools to expand school-based mental health services in Clarksville-Montgomery County. The grant provides $400,000 annually for the next three years to cover the cost of therapy and case management for elementary school students with a variety of mental health challenges.
Centerstone, Tennessee’s leading provider of behavioral health services, has been designated as the official provider of services covered by the grant. The grant will ensure that elementary school students with mental health challenges receive needed services, regardless of ability to pay. This funding is particularly important for students who are uninsured and whose families cannot afford to pay for services.
Students who struggle with behavioral disorders, hyperactivity, depression or a variety of other difficulties will be referred by their teacher to a Centerstone mental health therapist. Centerstone’s School Based Therapist/Case Managers will work closely with school guidance counselors to provide mental health counseling to all referred students.
One group of particular concern is the approximately 7,000 military dependent students enrolled in Clarksville-Montgomery County schools who may need help in adjusting to the stress related to separation and concern over family members deployed to the Middle East.
“We are pleased to be working in partnership with Centerstone to offer these important mental health services to students who otherwise would not be served,” said Dr. Vicki Wallace, CMCSS director of elementary education. “We have offered these services in three of our elementary schools over the past three years, and the program has proven to be very successful. This grant allows us to expand services to nine additional elementary schools.”
School-based mental health services will be offered at 12 elementary schools, including Minglewood, Moore Magnet, Byrns Darden, Ringgold, Barksdale, Burt, St. Bethlehem, Barkers Mill, Glenellen, Hazelwood, Kenwood and Northeast.
“Centerstone’s School Based program has served over 70 schools in middle Tennessee counties over the past 18 years,” said Janice Moore, School Based Services Coordinator for Centerstone. “I am confident this program will continue to be successful as we expand our services in Clarksville-Montgomery County elementary schools.”
The grant also provides support services for families and teachers. Parenting skills classes will be offered to parents or guardians and training will be offered on various topics of interest to teachers.
Therapist/Case Managers will also assist in connecting families to other resources and services in the community and serve as liaisons between school personnel and parents/guardians.
“Our goal is to make sure that every child who needs help will be able to benefit from the expertise provided by the Centerstone therapists,” said Wallace. “Once the grant is completed, we plan to continue offering services to students by working with third party payors, such as Tri-Care, TennCare and private insurance. We are committed to continue this needed program for our students beyond the funding term of this grant.”
Clarksville-Montgomery County School System, the seventh largest district in the State of Tennessee, operates 31 schools, serves more than 27,000 students and employs about 3,000 teachers, administrators and support staff. CMCSS is the largest employer in the Clarksville-Montgomery County area second only to Fort Campbell Army Post. CMCSS is one of only 10 districts in the nation that is ISO 9001 certified – a standard of effectiveness and efficiency recognized by businesses and organizations around the world.