Administration reports to Board on Mental Health Intervention Team

September 6, 2019

Administration reports to Board on Mental Health Intervention Team CFISD’s Mental Health Intervention Team was introduced to the Board of Trustees on Sept. 5. Pictured, from left, are Joanne Wallace, licensed professional counselor; Minet Cortez, licensed professional counselor and registered play therapist; Dr. Michelle Pastorek, licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology; Shelly-Ann James-Perelion, licensed professional counselor; Dr. Wes Baker, licensed psychologist and licensed specialist in school psychology; Megan McCarty, licensed professional counselor and supervisor; Officer Julio Cadenas, CFISD police department; and Officer David Mago, CFISD police department.

Sept. 6, 2019—The Cypress-Fairbanks ISD administration provided a report on the Mental Health Intervention Team, a key component of the district’s Safety and Security Measures, during the Board of Trustees work session on Sept. 5.

Formed during the 2018-2019 school year, the Mental Health Intervention Team consists of four licensed professional counselors, two licensed specialists in school psychology and two mental health officers. The team was formed to enhance the Identification and Intervention component of the district’s three-pronged approach to Safety and Security Measures:

  • Prevention;
  • Identification and Intervention; and
  • Response.

Day-to-day duties of the Mental Health Intervention Team include:

  • Campus response – visiting campuses to support the needs of students and staff during and following crisis events;
  • Training – providing trainings to staff, parents and students on mental health topics;
  • Program development – researching and developing policies and programs to ensure the district aligns with best practices in school-based mental health;
  • Community networking – connecting with community mental health providers to build a network of responsive services for district families;
  • Crisis help line – offering immediate support for staff working with suicide/threat risks or other campus crises; and
  • Mental health awareness – working with student groups to reduce the stigma attached to mental health concerns.

The Mental Health Intervention Team follows the Comprehensive School Threat Assessment Guidelines (CSTAG; formerly the Virginia Student Threat Assessment Guidelines, VSTAG), which were developed and based on research from Dr. Dewey Cornell of the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia. CSTAG is grounded in the principles of threat assessment promoted by the Secret Service and FBI, while further being geared towards the unique needs of schools and students.

The team also adheres to the research-supported Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale (CSSRS) screening system, which is currently in use throughout federal and state governments, including many school districts.

Visit the Safety page of the CFISD website for more details on district Safety and Security Measures.

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