Hanover County’s school-based mental health services program has received a 2022 achievement award from The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo). The VACo Achievement Awards recognize excellence in local government programs in the areas of innovation, cooperation, and model practices.
Hanover’s school-based mental health services has been named a model program in the area of health and human services. The program was created to enhance the overall emotional, behavioral, and academic wellbeing of students by providing access to therapeutic supports within a familiar, reassuring setting. A full-time Licensed Clinical Social Worker was fully imbedded in the school environment and worked alongside existing school counselors to address concerns related to the challenges impacting a student’s ability to function successfully. This allowed students to receive an assessment, care coordination, brief intervention, outreach, and linkage to additional resources. The program was made possible through a partnership between Hanover County Community Services Board (HCCSB) and Hanover County Public Schools (HCPS).
“Meeting within the school environment allows students to feel safe, while reducing barriers to access and allowing for natural collaboration. Students have reported feeling more open to receiving mental health supports and interventions in this format,” said Ivy Sager, Executive Director of the Hanover County Community Services Board. “We have since been able to expand this program to an additional high school and are working toward further expansion. We appreciate VACo’s recognition and hope this model can aid other communities as we all work to support the mental health needs of our youth.”
“As a school division, we recognize that each child is unique and has different needs – academically, socially, physically, and emotionally – and we must work to meet these complex and ever-evolving needs for them to be as successful as possible,” said Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools. “I am encouraged to see our county’s school-based mental health services program recognized for its exceptional work, adding another vital layer to supporting our students’ wellbeing. We are fortunate to have long-standing partnerships such as this one with the Community Services Board, which was made possible by the strong support of our School Board and Board of Supervisors. I look forward to seeing the continued benefits of this collaboration as we work to further address mental health challenges among our county’s youth.”
29 recipients out of 100 submissions earned honors in this year’s s VACo Achievement Awards. Winning entries focused on addressing issues of the pandemic, connecting citizens, and other challenges that counties face daily. The VACo Achievement Awards is a competitive program open to local government members of the association. More about this award and all of the 2022 achievement entries can be found on this VACo website.