Partnership brings behavioral health to LCS

The Lima City Schools is partnering with Health Partners of Western Ohio to provide on-site behavioral health services to the school district.

The Lima School Board approved a memorandum of understanding between the district and Health Partners at tonight’s board meeting. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at South.

Health Partners will hire three behavioral health providers (one for high school, one for middle schools and another for elementary schools) and a family practice medical provider.

The partnership will not cost the district. The district will provide space for the staff. Staff will be in place beginning on the first day of school Wednesday, Aug. 14.

Health Partners has operated the Spartan Health Center at Lima Senior High School for the past five years. The center is available to all students, staff and their families. The same will be the case for this new service.

“The Spartan Health Center has been a tremendous addition to the Lima City Schools,” Superintendent Jill Ackerman said. “This is an extension of this great partnership that will allow us to continue to care for the whole student.”

The center can help with an array of behavioral health issues, including depression, anxiety, behavior issues, family stress and other challenges students and families might face.

In addition to the staffed center located at Lima Senior, the behavioral health providers will be scheduled at the elementary and middle schools. There will be flexibility depending on each schools’ needs at any given time.

Providers at the elementary and middle schools can refer students to the health center at Lima Senior. They will also be available to observe students and classrooms to make recommendations to teachers on how to best address issues.

Dr. Elizabeth West, Health Partners Chief Operations Officer, said planning for the new service began with school officials talking about the behavioral health needs of the district’s students and families. She said having the existing health center provide those services made sense.

“It is always easier when you have one entity providing all the services,” West said. “The school district and Health Partners have a consistent message. Our goals are the same – improve wellness so kids can be successful in school.”

Families needing to make an appointment can call the Spartan Health Center at 419-996-3436.

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