Twenty Students Receiving Trauma-Informed Support Services at SCSD No. 2

Twenty Students Receiving Trauma-Informed Support Services at SCSD No. 2

GREEN RIVER — Sweetwater County School District (SCSD) No. 2 is currently providing Trauma-Informed Support Services (TISS) to 20 students.

SCSD No. 2 TISS Community Project Manager Brittney Montgomery said the TISS Grant is designed to supplement existing mental health services within the community and remove potential barriers to care, including finances transportation, time, and more.

“We received the Cooperative Agreements for School-Based Trauma-Informed Support Services and Mental Health Care for Children and Youth Grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),” Montgomery said.

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The grant is a four-year grant allocating $970,000 per year.

School-based mental health services with parental consent, social-emotional education, substance abuse education, violence and bullying prevention, early childhood education, and mental health and wellness awareness are provided to students through this grant. She emphasized that while the TISS partnered counselors are able to treat and diagnose students, she as a teacher does not treat or diagnose. As a Youth Mental Health First Aid trainer, Montgomery also teaches others to provide support, but not diagnose or treat.

Montgomery said that the district is using the grant to reach three goals. The first goal is to increase access to mental health and substance abuse services for school aged youth. The second goal is to increase the school district’s ability to recognize youth need for TISS and establish a learning collaborative to support grant goals and objectives. The third goal is to collaborate and support existing state infrastructure.

While these are big tasks, she said that the district has four years or more to accomplish them, depending on what the grant ends up looking like.

“The grant does multiple things at once,” Montgomery said. “It’s addressing early child and families, school aged, and also the community at large.”

Montgomery said that to increase access to services, the district has created two referral pathways to identify students. Students can be referred either by district staff, or by the community. Montgomery said they started receiving community referrals within a day or two of the referral paths being created.

Currently, services are being provided by Wyoming Behavioral Institute (WBI) out of Casper through Telehealth. However, Montgomery said that they are working on an RFP for local providers, so students who aren’t getting appropriate or effective care through Telehealth can get in-person services.

Montgomery said each school building in the district has made space for students to receive services right inside the campuses, which has eliminated the need for transportation for students.

She added that this program started in July and services started in the first week of August, so the fact they already have 20 students receiving services is pretty impressive. Additionally, they continue receiving consistent community referrals, and since school started back up, the schools are making referrals as well.

I have unbelievable hopes for the opportunities this will provide our community.

~Brittney Montgomery

Next steps for Montgomery are to increase public awareness of the TISS grant, and to get an advisory committee that supports both SCSD No. 2 and SCSD No. 1, as the communities share providers.

“I think it’s very exciting that a) we have this program, this opportunity, and b) just the amount of students that are already receiving services and wanting to receive services is really exciting,” Montgomery said.

SCSD No. 2 Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Core said during the school board meeting Tuesday night that he appreciates the fact that the program is for supporting students, rather than a diagnosis.

“It’s a very proactive approach on an issue that obviously is extremely important, and it is in the spotlight, people are watching,” Core said.