Funding to increase mental health resources for schools

The Minnesota Legislature recently approved an increase in funding for mental health resources in schools. About 36 organizations will be given additional funding in the next year to help give proper mental health care to students in school districts across the state. This includes Milaca-based Lighthouse Child and Family Services, an out-patient-based operation.
“I know that the need for mental health services are great, and the schools are sometimes overburdened, and don’t really have the resources for mental health services,” said Jennifer Goerger, from Lighthouse. “We’re going to reach a population of kids that were not able to get mental health help ever.”
The funds from the state will double the amount of money going into mental health support for school districts. According to Minneapolis school studies, increased mental health services lower school suspensions and increase attendance.
Goerger said that a number of benefits will spring from the partnership, including increased knowledge so teachers and staff can catch issues earlier on. Another benefit would be professional help for many students who could not afford or travel to get proper care.
“Lighthouse is always trying to work closely with the school districts, so this will be a great opportunity to serve more students and also to help teachers and school staff understand more about mental health,” Goerger said. “It will help them address and identify mental needs earlier on and teach them how to address it.”
The effects of the newly forged partnership between Lighthouse and the Milaca schools have already shown some of those benefits.
“What I’ve noticed this far is that children who haven’t been able to in the past are now able to access mental health services,” Goerger said. “We’re able to reach those kids, and the other impact is that we’re able to reach out to anyone, regardless of insurance status.”
Lighthouse is located across from the Armory Park in Milaca on Third Avenue Northwest.