Davis School District expands mental health services for students

Hill Field Elementary

Two military educational therapists and two military advocates will join the Davis School District Student and Family Resources team. The full-time employees begin in October thanks to a partnership with Hill Air Force Base.

“It’s an outstanding partnership. We are grateful for it. We believe it will do wonders,” Davis School District Director of Student and Family Resources Brad Christensen said.

The partnership is believed to be the first of its kind between the United States Military and a public school district with a focus on mental health.

The new therapists each have a personal connection with the military and will focus on supporting the mental health of students in military families. Their new office will be based on the campus of Hill Field Elementary.

"We are getting the best of the best in our mental health community to come work at Davis School District,” Christensen said.

Four integrated educational therapists also transitioned to full-time status. During the last school year, the district had two full-time and two part-time integrated therapists.

Integrated educational therapists are licensed mental health professionals who provide clinical interventions and support services to students across the district. Services include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, outreach, and safety planning.

Support is offered to K-12 students whose parents or guardians do not have insurance for mental health services. Therapy is done during the school day.

“That means many more students and families will receive services that otherwise would not receive those,” Christensen said. “Those gaps will be filled.”

During the 2021-2022 school year, 274 students participated in group therapy. The integrated educational therapists ran 38 therapy groups in seven schools, focusing on managing emotions, coping skills, developing social skills, and empowerment.

A total of 132 students also received individual therapy through Davis School District.

“The greatest curriculum cannot teach a kid who is disconnected. The greatest curriculum cannot provide the support for a student who does not feel they are part of the school.” Assistant Superintendent John Zurbuchen said.

In addition,11 schools have partnered to use discretionary funds to pay for six embedded therapists to meet the needs of students at Holt, South Clearfield and Wasatch elementary, Kaysville and Millcreek junior high, as well as Bountiful, Davis, Farmington, Northridge, and Viewmont high schools, and Renaissance Academy.

Davis Behavioral Health is also providing services in two schools.