In-school Healthcare Underway Across Skagit County


In collaboration with Sedro-Woolley PeaceHealth, the prospect of a in-school clinic comes one step closer to becomming a reality. Courtessy of Deanna Ellefson.

Raven Abridello, editor

Sedro-Woolley School District has been working with PeaceHealth Medical Group and Skagit County Public Health to strive towards integrating a school-based health center into Sedro-Woolley High School as soon as the 2019-2020 school year if approved by the school board.
According to a survey released by the School-Based Health Alliance, SWHS students, staff, and parents have concerns regarding students’ mental health, especially anxiety and depression.
Having a school-based health center in SWHS would be another support system that students could turn to for mental health help. Services provided by a school-based health center are confidential, and parental consent is not required, which can be a huge factor adolescents consider when seeking mental health treatment.
According to de Losada, “While they’re delivering clinical services, they also carve out time to connect with students throughout the campus and connect with faculty. They’re able to provide developmentally appropriate services, culturally appropriate services, and of course confidential services.”
For years, people have told students that high school would be the best four years of their lives, but this is furthest from reality for some.
In recent years mental health has been discussed more frequently, and the taboo and stigmatism surrounding mental illness seems to be breaking down, and yet, according to Mental Health America, “Many Americans experiencing a mental health condition still report having an unmet need. One in five, or nine million adults reported having an unmet need.”
Students are also facing mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, depersonalization disorder, and schizophrenia, just to name a few. It can have a major impact on their academic performance.
While having an in-school counseling department is extremely helpful in aiding students in mental health help, schools across the country are implementing school-based health centers to not only give extra support for mental health, but also for physical health.
A school-based health center is meant to provide access to students that might not otherwise have direct access to a visit with a primary health care provider. With that being said, school-based health center services are available to all students, and services could potentially be available to staff at the school or community members.
According to Julie de Losada, health analyst for Skagit County Public Health, services can include primary care, dental work, and even reproductive health.
“Reproductive health is one of the services that are very frequently engaged in school-based health centers. This is everything from STD screenings to birth control. It’s coaching healthy relationships, helping people understand what’s a safe relationship, what makes a good partner, those types of things, and that might be where our social worker comes in to have some of those conversations.”