Oak Lawn organization recognized for ‘mental health excellence’
September 6, 2012 2:12PM
Oak Lawn Community High School District 229 Supt. Michael Riordan (from left) congratulates Carol Gustafson, Dorothy Angelo and Ashley August on receiving the Award of Excellence for School-Community Partnerships. | Supplied Photo
Updated: October 10, 2012 6:05AM
The Oak Lawn School-Community Partnership recently received the Award of Excellence for School-Community Partnerships, which recognizes excellence in improving school mental health.
Oak Lawn Community High School Partnership members were honored with the award during the second annual “School Mental Health Conference, Families, Schools and Communities: Working Together to Improve Student Mental Health.” Social worker Carol Gustafson also was personally honored for her work.
The Oak Lawn School and Community Partnership originally was developed from a grant written by Gustafson that provided $25,000 per year. The grant lasted three years, but the partnership continues without grant money, officials said.
The purpose of the partnership is to offer early identification/intervention mental health services for Oak Lawn Community High School students. Its other goal is to reduce the stigma that is sometimes associated with seeking mental health services, as well as to decrease barriers to access those services, organizers said.
To meet those goals, community mental health agencies have partnered with Oak Lawn Community High School staff to provide mental health screenings, educational programs for students and parents, suicide prevention programs, support groups and more extensive services when needed.
“We are proud and committed to what we do because we know we have saved lives and improved our students’ ability to participate in their education,” Gustafson said.
Provided to the SouthtownStar