Nearly 60 schools in the Fulton County Schools district will have a behavioral health counselor on site when the 2020-21 academic year starts in August, thanks to an expanded partnership between the district and the Fulton government.

“The (Fulton) Board of Commissioners recognizes the need for more counseling support to help our students cope with the massive changes in their learning environments, lifestyles and ability to interact with family and friends,” District 2 Commissioner Bob Ellis said in a news release. “Many have missed highly anticipated rites of passage such as graduations and proms.”

The commission approved nearly $1 million in funding for the partnership at its May 20 recess meeting, and the Fulton Board of Education discussed it at its May 14 meeting. The continuing collaboration increases the number of schools served by the Fulton Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Expanded services include school-based face-to-face and virtual therapy for students.

“The amended $940,280 contract brings 31 additional treatment counselors and adds 20 new Fulton County schools into the partnership and ensures that services within 58 (schools) are maintained and meet the needs of students for Behavioral Health Services as the County continues to meet needs presented by COVID-19,” County Manager Dick Anderson said in the release.

According to the release, based on information provided to the department, schoolchildren are under greater stress because of their time away from their schools, isolation from peers, cancellations of end-of-year ceremonies and increasing reports of abuse suffered by some students. The partnership also focuses on reducing overwhelming stress levels that could lead to suicide attempts.

“We are all committed to developing and maintaining good behavioral health for our children to ensure their future educational success,” district Superintendent Mike Looney said of the partnership in the release.

Students will receive therapy services department contractor CHRIS 180 Inc., in collaboration with Summit Counseling Center.

For more information about the program, call 404-612-9339.

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