IPSD 204’s free therapy program to expand to more schools

Exterior Wide Shot of IPSD 204 Administration Building
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A free therapy program launched by Indian Prairie School District 204 in November will be expanding to two more schools in the district.

$500,000 grant to allow expansion

At the Monday night IPSD 204 board of education meeting, it was announced that the district received an additional $500,000 in competitive grants from the Illinois Department of Public Health to help provide Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley students with free therapy sessions.

“In alignment with the IPSD cares grant and the services that are occurring in all our other four schools that are serving as sites for CARES, Wildcat Wellness will offer free counseling after school. The goal is to increase access to mental health services for the school,” said instructional specialist Dr. Tara Bell.

Wednesday sessions to start at Neuqua Valley this week

Sessions at Neuqua Valley will start on February 8 and go through May 24, taking place on Wednesdays at 2:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. There will be four clinicians on campus every Wednesday, along with supervisors from the school. Telehealth options will also be available.

According to Bell, the district hopes to get sessions at Metea Valley up and running sometime next month.

How the free therapy program started

In November, Indian Prairie School District 204 announced that the district would start offering free therapy sessions to students at some schools thanks to a grant from the Edward Elmhurst Community Investment Fund.

The program launched that same month for students at Fischer Middle School, Georgetown Elementary School, Granger Middle School, and Longwood Elementary School.

“So far, we’ve had 120 students served. We have over 357 appointments that have been booked and we are excited to announce that we are currently operating at scale, so we’ve expanded services to the feeder schools of all of the four CARE sites. Fischer, Georgetown, Granger, and Longwood,” said Bell.

Waubonsie Valley High School has access to the sessions through Georgetown and Fischer.

Good feedback so far

Administrators said so far, they’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the program.

“We did receive some lovely feedback from families. Noting that in one case for example this was a lifesaver, the family was able to get an appointment in a week versus continuing to be on the waiting list for over two months. All Families recommended that the district continues to offer these services in the future,” said Bell.

Those interested in signing up for the free sessions can do so through the Indian Prairie Cares website.

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