Dallas ISD launches Mental Health Services Department and increases staffing

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Dallas ISD is expanding the district’s mental health services for the 2020-2021 school year through department re-organization and increased staffing. As of July 6, the Mental Health Services Department combines the Youth and Family Centers (YFC) and Psychological and Social Services (PSS) programs. Now, the Mental Health Services Department works as one unit to address the behavioral, emotional, and social issues that a child may experience and through both school and clinic-based services.

The Mental Health Services team includes psychologists, licensed therapists, clinical social workers, and psychiatrists who work with students with a variety of health issues that may impact the student at school and home such as anxiety, depression, behavior concerns, and response to traumatic events. Services include evaluation and assessment, individual, group, and family therapy, psychiatric services, behavioral interventions, and crisis response. As part of a partnership with Parkland Health Hospital System, vaccines and routine sick care visits are also available at most of the 12 district-based clinics. In addition to offering mental health intervention and treatment, the department also educates district staff and parents about mental health as a critical component of students’ overall wellbeing.

As part of the reorganization, district administrators are hiring 57 additional staff members to meet the rising demand for mental health treatment in schools.

Among the 57 new positions are:

  • 47 clinicians to reduce staff caseloads and increase service availability at both schools and district clinics
  • 6 clinicians for high-need campuses

Approximately one in six youth (aged 6-17) experience a mental health disorder each year, according to the National Association on Mental Illness. The creation of the Mental Services Department will provide a more cohesive, collaborative, and efficient response to better meet the needs of Dallas ISD students and families.

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