AP NEWS

CHI continues to aid in mental health

February 27, 2018

For the past two years, Catholic Health Initiatives-Schuyler has been working alongside the Behavioral Health Coalition to recognize a need for the community that has not been sufficiently met.

After reaching the understanding that there was no mental health practitioner to assist those in need in Colfax County, CHI integrated with the Behavioral Health Coalition to make a change.

This change began to take shape last November when CHI made a $25,840 donation through a Mission and Ministry grant to Schuyler Community Schools. The funds were made available to not only improve the mental health of students, but for the community.

CHI-Schuyler project coordinator Claudia Lanuza said the focus was to build “healthy relationships”.

“The coalition was wanting to reincorporate the schools in some way,” Lanuza said. “Once they had the funds available, they got to work.”

So far, the monies have been used to make Mental Health First Aid available to the county. Ninety-nine community members have taken advantage of the class thus far. A new program called “Building Healthy Relationships” was recently developed for elementary and middle-school students, in which 29 students learned about suicide awareness.

The intent of the program has taught students about another aspect of relationships that often goes overlooked. Schuyler Middle School principal Michelle Burton said the effects of the class have been well received by her students.

“In the elementary setting, we want to find the best way to reach out for strong, safe and caring adults to encourage our children,” Burton said. “When children are surrounded by good role models, they have an opportunity to build on success. This program is something we want to expand to the rural schools: Richland, Fishers, and the others as well. I know Schuyler wants to participate, too.”

This, Burton said, will help to strengthen the relationships between parents and children.

Another way the grant money has been used was to implement a telecommunication system of psychiatry at CHI. A psychiatric professional makes themselves available through to patients seeking additional care, despite any distance.

The coalition is also working together with CHI to establish an anti-bullying class for SCS students to learn about awareness and prevention.

“It’s all about bringing servant leaders together to serve all of the community and the county,” Burton said. “In order to understand each other. It’s just another tier of support and understanding the whole person.”

Anyone interested in forming with the coalition is free to call Claudia Lanuza at 402-352-4075 or visit the Community Health Improvement Plan at the CHI website.

“It’s helpful to see the context of this mission and meet the needs of behavioral health,” Burton explained. “The pulling together of the coalition is the ‘how’.”