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Partnership with Summit Counseling focuses on prevention
It is a win-win partnership for Fulton County students, and one that recently captured the attention of former NFL player Terry Bradshaw.
For three years, Fulton County School’s partnership with the Summit Counseling Center has offered critical mental health services to students, making therapists available on the spot at several middle and high schools one to two days a week.
“The program was started to remove any barriers, such as financial or transportation, for students to receive mental health services,” says Director of Community Outreach at Summit Counseling Cathy Murphy, noting that the partnership has been successful so far with the onsite therapists always at capacity. “We began working with care teams in schools after crises and now we focus more on prevention.”
As part of the partnership, schools provide space in their buildings; Summit Counseling manages scheduling and billing and raises client assistance funds through local foundations like the United Way and the Fulton-DeKalb Hospital Fund. The fundraising efforts allow Summit to provide assistance to anyone in need.
“The services offered through Summit Onsite are in addition to supports provided by the district,” said School Board Member Linda McCain recently. “The focused, on-site services allow students to receive assistance immediately, which makes this partnership so unique and helpful to students at such a critical time in their lives.”
Currently, Summit Onsite locations are at Alpharetta High, Centennial High, Chattahoochee High, Elkins Pointe Middle, Johns Creek High, Milton High, Northview High, Northwestern Middle, and River Trail Middle.
There have been additional requests to offer the program in other schools, but Summit is limited by funding. Separate funding can be accessed through grants, which Elkins Pointe Middle School recently received through United Way to start support groups for at-risk students.
Summit has hopes for future locations, something that makes a recent fundraising effort featuring Bradshaw so important. The former NFL quarterback served as keynote speaker for the Unmasking the Stigma gala, an event attended by school board members and district staff.