School-linked mental health therapy services have become increasingly common due to the many benefits they provide. This model can be best defined as a therapist from an outside agency working onsite at a school, providing services to students during the normal school day. The benefits of this model are many…

School counselors and teachers are commonly the ones to refer students and families to school-linked therapy services. With a written release of information, this allows the therapist to work with the current team at the school to best support each client. Common reasons for referrals include supporting students through depression, anxiety, stress related to academic pressure, trauma, and social anxiety – challenges that might otherwise be missed.

School-linked services help remove some common accessibility barriers to healing. Receiving therapy in a traditional clinic setting may require students to leave school in order to attend an appointment, or may be inaccessible due to transportation or other challenges. However, school-linked services provide professional mental health offerings conveniently located in the school setting. This reduces the amount of class time missed for appointments, and increases the number of students who have access to therapy services.

For several years, Water’s Edge Counseling & Healing Center has provided school-linked mental health therapy for schools in District 196 (Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan) and Bloomington Public Schools. Traditionally, students engaged in school-linked services experience weekly or bi-weekly individual therapy appointments scheduled during an hour of their normal school day, or before or after school. Therapy sessions are held in a private room at each school, and the school counseling staff can be supportive in helping facilitate student schedules as needed.

Summertime can provide additional challenges to students who are receiving therapy, as they are no longer in the school environment. To address this gap during past summers, Water’s Edge CHC school-linked clients have been able to continue services at our clinic. This summer, we’ve been able to continue services with our student clients via telehealth. In both cases, our focus has been continuing their healing over the summer break.

Although the 2020-2021 school year may look quite different, Water’s Edge Counseling & Healing Center will continue to collaborate with District 196 and Bloomington Public Schools by providing telehealth sessions to their students. School-linked services will be offered at Eastview High School, Eagan High School, Rosemount High School, Jefferson High School, and Olson Middle School. Although our providers may not be onsite in this season, clients will continue to benefit from our therapist’s collaboration with school staff, promoting the holistic well-being that fosters academic success. An additional benefit of telehealth services is that therapists at Water’s Edge CHC are able to easily work with students from all schools during their distance learning days or after school hours.

Questions about our school-linked mental health therapy services? Reach out to our school-linked services coordinator, Erica Schultz, at 952-898-5020 x145.