Outcry Over High School Clinic Exposes Deep Divisions on Mental Health

On the January night when the superintendent launched workers from Generations Family Health Center, the nonprofit well being care group that was to offer providers within the faculty, the guests peered out of Zoom screens with cheery smiles.

The plan was for licensed therapists from Generations to work in a space on the college’s third flooring. Students may very well be referred by lecturers or relations, or may are available themselves, and remedy classes can be scheduled throughout faculty hours. Therapists would invoice insurance coverage based mostly on a sliding price scale, utilizing federal funds if obligatory, so there can be no value to the college and little, if any, to the households.

Then a chill entered the room because the board members started peppering them with questions. The guests’ smiles light.

Would they advise college students on contraception or abortion? (They wouldn’t give medical recommendation, however would possibly talk about if it comes up.) If kids had been referred and didn’t need remedy, would they be compelled to do it? (No.) Would college students be seen by friends going into remedy, exposing them to ridicule and stigma? (Hopefully not.) Could they get remedy with out their dad and mom realizing about it?

Conceivably, sure, was the answer. By regulation, clinicians in Connecticut can provide six sessions of mental health treatment to minors with out parental consent underneath a slim set of circumstances — if the minor sought remedy, it was deemed clinically obligatory and if requiring parental notification would deter the minor from receiving it.

This provision is used not often; within the close by city of Putnam, which has hosted a school-based psychological well being clinic for 9 years, treating a whole bunch of scholars, no little one has ever been handled with out parental permission, mentioned Michael Morrill, a Putnam faculty board member.

But it was a significant sticking level for Norm Ferron, one of many Killingly board members, who mentioned the association would “give a student a lot more access to counseling without seeking parental approval, and I’m not real keen on that.”

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