Cherokee Health Systems has signed an agreement with Anderson County Schools to begin providing outpatient behavioral health services to students at the countyâ€™s two high schools, four middle schools, and the Life Development Center as part of a five-year federal grant made possible from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, officials said.
The Tennessee Department of Education selected Anderson and two other countiesâ€”Lawrence County in the Middle Tennessee area and Lauderdale County in West Tennesseeâ€”to receive the funding.
Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, CHS will have licensed social workers on-site at each location to provide comprehensive behavioral health services. Tennessee joins 19 other states with Anderson County being one of 60 school systems to receive Project AWARE funds.
CHSâ€™ model of school-based behavioral health treatment is integrated, culturally sensitive, and student-focused, a press release said. In this multi-systems approach, CHS clinicians offer valuable input designed to meet the studentâ€™s unique needs, which enables students to address emotional needs so that they can flourish academically and socially.
The press release said CHS has provided school-based behavioral health programs since 1996 and has been recognized as a â€œstate best practices modelâ€ with their work in Blount County Schools.
â€œThis will be a great opportunity for Cherokee Health Systems to partner with Anderson County Schools and provide much-need integrated behavioral health services that are specialized for the youth in this community,”Â CHS Chief Executive Officer Dennis Freeman said in the release.
Anderson County Schools received $2.2 million in federal fundsÂ to helpÂ expand youth access to mental health resources and promote resilience among school-age youth, said Kim Guinn, Anderson County Schools AWARE director.
“As part of Project AWARE’s effort andÂ intervention strategy, Cherokee Health System will be delivering targetedÂ mental health care and intensive interventions to those students who have been referredÂ and whose parents or guardians have consented to care,” Guinn said. “We are very excited about the opportunity to increase access to mental health services, allowing students to stay on a positive trajectory, whichÂ will support academic success and help our studentsÂ to become productive citizens in our communities.”
Founded in 1960, Cherokee Health Systems is a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the quality of life for patients through the blending of primary care and behavioral health. For more information about Cherokee Health Systems, call (865) 544-0406 or visit http://www.cherokeehealth.com.
The Anderson County Schools system serves approximately 6,300 students in nine elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, a career and technical center, Clinch River Community School, and a pre-school/Head Start program. ACS is one of the largest employers in Anderson County, with more than 1,000 teachers, education assistants, and support and administrative staff. For more information, visit www.acs.ac or call (865) 463-2800.
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