Wheeler Expands School-based Health Services in Bristol and Plainville

Wheeler and the Bristol and Plainville Public Schools have partnered to provide expanded access to health services for students. School-based health centers are open in Bristol at South Side School, Green Hills and West Bristol K-8 schools, as well as Chippens Hill Middle School. A new clinic also is open at Linden Street School in Plainville.

Wheeler’s School-based Health Centers employ a national cognitive behavioral intervention model to help students address trauma-related issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and behavioral health issues. Other evidence-based interventions will be offered to address anxiety, depression, academic and peer challenges and more. Linkage to other services in the Bristol and Plainville communities, including connections with primary and dental care at Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Centers, afterschool programming and a broad continuum of outpatient and community-based levels of care also will be provided.

“Our partnerships with the Bristol and Plainville Public Schools further expands our ability to deliver nurturing, trauma-informed care to youth and families when and where services are most critically needed,” said Susan Walkama, LCSW, president and chief executive officer, Wheeler. “Research shows that delivery of care in a school-based setting is directly linked with improved academic performance, attendance and graduation rates, as well as overall positive health outcomes.”

Helping Students Deal with Trauma

Wheeler’s Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program, delivered through the Bristol and Plainville school-based health centers, is an evidence-based behavioral therapy model that delivers skill-based group interventions. The model serves children in grades 4 through 8 and concentrates on relief from symptoms of PTSD and general anxiety among children and youth who have experienced trauma. The program involves individual, group and parent education sessions focusing on:

  • Education about common reactions to trauma
  • Relaxation training
  • Cognitive therapy (understanding the links between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and identifying and challenging maladaptive thoughts)
  • Gradual exposure to trauma reminders
  • Exposure to stress and trauma memory through drawing, writing, verbalization and social problem-solving.

More openings in Bristol and Plainville schools are planned. For more information, visit wheelerclinic.org/school-health.

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