People Incorporated Gives Insight into School-Based Mental Health
People Incorporated in New Hope acts as a home based for mental health programs for kids, both day treatment and school based treatment.
“Day treatment is highly sought-after, usually waiting lists to fill up spots,” said Bruce Cross, a therapist with the program. “School-based therapists are all full, and schools want more.”
Cross supervises school-based therapists out of the New Hope location. He sees integrating more mental health into the school day as the wave of the future.
“It’s really the way you access mental health services now. There wasn’t lunch in schools way back when and now there is. There wasn’t nursing in school way back when, now there is. There is going to be mental health services in all schools,” said Cross.
But what do those services look like anyway?
Nathaniel Brueske gives us a look. He’s the school-based therapist working at Sandburg Middle School, and says he helps about five percent of the student population there over the course of the year.
“I have a lot of kids who don’t know how to express emotions,” said Brueske, who tries to get kids to open up beyond saying they are just “sad” or ” mad.”
Brueske says he tries to create a cool space in his office, with gaming chairs and non-fluorescent lighting. He is encouraged when people drop by, showing they are advocating for their mental health.
“This past year, I had a couple of kids go, ‘hey you are the guy,’ which was really encouraging to see young people do that for themselves,” said Brueske.”Even though the kid did all the work, I was there to help facilitate. It’s cool and rewarding to see how they’ve grown.”
To engage with students, therapists often use age-appropriate crafts or play to engage.
“Whatever is going to keep the interest of the person and keep them talking to me is what we are doing,” said Kylie Otte, a therapist.
Often, Otte says she finds success just ensuring the students feel heard.
“My job is to run along side them until they run on their own,” said Otte.
To learn more about the programs available at People Incorporated, click here.
See also: Newsmakers: People Incorporated Sees Growing Demand for Mental Health Training