by: Michelle Ross
MORRISANIA, the Bronx (PIX11) — Students in the Bronx will now be able to easily access mental health services right at their schools as part of an ongoing effort to create school-based health clinics.
P.S./M.S. 4 partnered with Montefiore Medical Center to officially launch the Montefiore School Health Program. Principal Vincent Resto said implementing the program will help children beyond the classroom.
“More often than not in education, we think of the importance of academics,” Resto said. “However, while that is true, it is difficult to experience academic success while facing issues of mental and physical health.”
This is the 33rd school where the program has been implemented, but it’s in Stage 1 with mental health services being offered first. Students, including 8th grader Aniya Romero Young, are excited.
“Our school hope is to help prevent or help manage diseases, disorders, stress, so that all people can live a longer healthier lifestyle and for people to receive the emotional support they need to thrive in this world,” Young said.
The students will be able to meet with a psychologist and, if needed, have access to a psychiatrist, social worker and family support worker. These are critical services that could normalize getting help during a time when many young people are going through hardship and isolation because of the pandemic, according to Delaney Gracy, director of clinical services for the program.
“They may not even realize they need help, but here if we’re able to be part of their school culture, mental health starts to become part of what is normal for everyday,” Gracy said.
Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson, who has been an advocate for school-based health clinics from her City Council days, is a supporter.
“Providing this important component today here at P.S./M.S. 4’s campus, you are investing in our children’s future,” Gibson said.
More than 400 students at this school will have mental health support to lean on while medical, dental and vision services will soon follow.