Integrated Behavioral Health
“It’s good that they have medical and behavioral health together. They can check my symptoms or give me medicine when I’m not feeling well.”
Sometimes anxiety is easy to identify — like when a student is feeling nervous before a test. Other times, anxiety in the classroom can look like something else entirely.
Like many students, Milton wasn’t sure why he was feeling anxious and didn’t know where to get support until the anxiety had become so acute that it was unbearable. “I didn’t seek out help until it got to a point where I realized I really needed it,” says Milton.
So, when he heard about La Clínica through his school’s health center, he decided to seek help. La Clínica serves eight school-based health centers through a unique integrated care model that addresses the whole person.
La Clínica’s school-based health centers make access to health care easy since they are embedded within students’ neighborhoods. Staffed by multilingual providers trained in trauma-informed care, the range of services to meet students’ healthcare needs includes behavioral screenings, checkups, lab tests, prescriptions, individual and group counseling, health education, medical and dental services.
Serving students aged 14-21, the unique system of care engages schools and community partners in a comprehensive and integrated approach that prioritizes prevention and early intervention. Clinicians work in close partnership with health educators and schools to coordinate universal screenings and triage care, collaborating with an on-site student care team.
Students who aren’t feeling well have a harder time learning. Students who use school-based health centers benefit in many ways. They spend more time in class because they tend to be sick less often and don’t have to take as much time off school to get care visits. When Milton came to La Clínica, the integrated care model helped him avoid going to multiple clinics. He was able to speak to a doctor and get medication all in the same visit. Milton reflects on his experience and says: “It’s good that they have medical and behavioral health together. They can check my symptoms or give me medicine when I’m not feeling well. I think it’s also helped me with doing better in school.”
School-based health centers increase access to care, which benefits all stakeholders. Parents and caregivers benefit from the knowledge that their child can receive health care without leaving school and that this care is covered at no or low cost. School leaders and the school community benefit because the students’ healthcare needs are addressed on-site, and there is a reduction in missed class time and absenteeism. Employers of parents and caregivers appreciate that there are reduced employee productivity losses because of missed work time to care for sick children or transport them to medical settings.
“Sometimes it’s hard for students to get help because they can be scared,” says Milton. “I was in that position too. It’s scary not to know, but the staff at La Clínica do their job well, which makes you feel confident and makes you feel like you can trust them.”