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CASSY's mission is to de-stigmatize mental health services and make supporting student's social and emotional well-being the norm in our local schools. We strive to provide all students with the continuity of support they need, from the first day of kindergarten until they graduate from high school, to be successful in school and in life.
Although every program is unique, we always follow our five core principles:
1) Be available to help all students, regardless of their ability to pay.
We serve financially disenfranchised communities where free services at school are the only realistic way to reach kids. We also serve financially stable communities where many families have resources, but other barriers such as stigma, transportation, and insurance limits get in the way.
2) Partner with schools to make mental health services a natural part of the educational process.
The only way to achieve our shared goals is to create a strong working relationship between our agency and the school. To do so, we set up shop right on campus and integrate the CASSY team with school staff to create a mental health resource team that is as integral a part of the school as the guidance department.
3) Tailor programs to meet the unique needs of the populations we serve.
We factor in the unique characteristics of a given school when creating any new program. For example, our staffing for a 2,000-student high school with a single site will be quite different from that for a district with a dozen elementary school sites. We have also found that bilingual therapists are essential for some schools.
4) Hire, train and mentor professional therapists who love working with youth.
We use experienced therapists to tackle our clients’ issues rather than using our clients’ issues to train inexperienced therapists. We believe that the right approach is to pay for high quality therapists, mentor them in their professional growth, and give them a long-term career path at CASSY.
5) Commit to making a difference.
We take great pride in improving the lives of the students we support. We will always see each case through to the end, whether we handle it internally, refer it out, or both. When there is a mental health crisis on campus, we will be there leading the way. We expect our partner schools to put us in charge and rely on our expertise.
- Cheryl Serna
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