Bassett's School-Based Health Program Earns Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Community Health Award

January 5, 2017

Bassett’s school-based health program has been granted a $4,000 Community Health Award by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. The award will fund the purchase of cleanable and single-use toys that form a crucial part of mental health therapy in school-based health.

Of the 33,522 visits that Bassett’s school-based health program provided to enrolled children last year, 10,731 were part of the mental health program. Many of the more than 7,500 students who participate in Bassett’s school-based health program annually experience mental health needs, and Bassett Healthcare Network provides services to these students through the school-based health centers located at their public schools.

Thirteen registered, licensed clinical social workers provide mental health care to enrolled students at Bassett’s school-based health centers. These clinicians work in collaboration with the child psychiatrist at Bassett Medical Center to offer consultations, short-term and long-term counseling, behavioral therapy, treatment of anxiety and depression, and a variety of interventions to help students cope with emerging difficulties at home.

Because these mental health professionals treat young people, adolescents and children, toys are often an essential part of therapy. Using toys in therapy can help students to express how they feel, to describe events that happened to them, to express fears, even to process grief. Sometimes working with the toys provides comfort and allows students struggling with difficult issues to express things they otherwise might not be able to express. The older toys used in this work need to be replaced with new, cleanable and single-use toys in order to meet the medical standard for prevention of disease transmission, and the grant funding from Excellus BlueCross BlueShield will make that possible.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield provides grants on a competitive basis to nonprofit programs that focus on activities improving the health of the community, health education and wellness.

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