One of the priorities from our Blueprint for Action is to expand school-based health programming. We have made great progress on this goal, led by Maria Strada from Middle Earth. The focus is on Bound Brook High School, whose student body includes the youth from both Bound Brook and South Bound Brook.
In collaboration with Bound Brook School District Assistant Superintendent Elizabeth Fischer, the AWARE committee was formed to educate teachers, students, and parents about mental health and wellness. Various agencies are scheduled to present throughout this school year. We also plan to partner with the American Lung Association to address vaping prevention, a rapidly growing need in our community.
Through our partnership with Safe+Sound Somerset, a trauma specialist will be training local educators in evidence-based, trauma-informed approaches to working with young people and communities. These workshops will guide professionals in their understanding of what trauma is, how to screen for trauma, and how to appropriately refer an individual to services.
At the end of this school year, the school-based programming will culminate in a wellness fair in June 2019. Daytime and evening sessions will allow attendance by both students and parents, ensuring a greater audience for this event.
We are exploring another exciting possibility with Somerset County’s Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center. We hope to host counseling space at Bound Brook High School. This would expand access to mental health care for both students and community members, providing services in a location that is easy to access and trusted by residents.
A long-term goal of Bound Brook Superintendent Dr. Daniel Gallagher is to build a school-based health clinic at the high school. We are helping to inform this complex planning process, because of the value of improving access to medical and behavioral health care for students and community members. One challenge is finding sources for funding to build and launch the clinic. We are looking for opportunities in the local business community to support the project, and welcome input from community stakeholders. Share your ideas, partner with us, and learn more about our school-based programming and other facets of our work, at our new web site: www.buildingbridgestobetterhealth.org