The Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey Community Health Center (VNACJ Community Health Center) has begun crisis mental health screening and support for students in the Freehold Borough School District.
“This partnership allows us to expand our services beyond the Community Health Center in Freehold Borough to reach directly into the schools to make a greater difference in the lives of these children and their families,” said Christopher Rinn, CEO of VNACJ Community Health Center.
The Care Coordination Agreement allows all students who may be having a mental health crisis and are referred by the district to receive care at the Freehold Family Health Center, which in most cases will eliminate the need for an emergency room visit. This care will be provided without regard for a family’s ability to pay or insurance status. Providers will also be available to the district for input and training on the district’s development of school policies and procedures.
“We are so grateful for this opportunity to work with VNACJ Community Health Center,” said Joe Howe, Ed.D., Freehold Borough School District Superintendent. “The mental health and well-being of our entire community is at least equally as important as physical health. Mental health concerns in the pediatric population have quickly become among the top public health crises our country faces. This agreement will provide care to our students in a familiar setting, right in the community, and expands our partnership with the VNA to help fill a gap in a growing area of need for our students and their families.”
At least one in five youth aged 9–17 years has a diagnosable mental health disorder that causes impairment. One in ten has a disorder that causes significant impairment. Students of all ages are subject to adverse experiences that can dampen their mental and behavioral health, from bullying, to academic pressure, to issues at home. Adolescents need access to counseling and behavioral help, which can address these problems.
The Freehold Borough School District includes three schools and serves some 1,700 students from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade.
VNACJ Community Health Center (VNACJ.org) is a federally qualified health center with a team of world-class health professionals that strives to remain an accessible source of healthcare for patients of all ages and backgrounds. From behavioral health to chiropractic care, to regular check-ups for the entire family, the Community Health Center offers compassionate, comprehensive care for all patients, regardless of ability to pay, offering a sliding scale fee structure to patients.