Certified Mental Health Providers are in short supply state and nationwide. To provide needed services, Roane County Family Health Care (RCFHC) has addressed these issues with ingenuity and collaboration.

We have applied staff initiative and a willingness to stretch what are considered to be our limitations. In a recent School-Based Health Meeting our collaborating partner (Roane General Hospital) provided space for mental health and dental services at their existing school-based health centers. The only problem is staffing. Our productivity is maxed on a one-to-one basis. With School collaboration, we have initiated group therapy, seeing up to ten school aged children at time. This addresses some of the more prevalent issues at the schools. Group therapy utilizes the help of a student assistant from Glenville State this spring and one from the WVU Charleston Center this summer, fall and winter as a means of providing the student with practical experience.

The RCFHC Mental Health Department includes a Certified Masters Social Worker (MSW) with 32 years of experience and a supervised Psychologist, MA, EdS. Both primarily serve Roane and southern Calhoun counties, with some clients coming from Jackson, Wirt and Clay counties. The Department provides mental health services for patients of RCFHC and receives referrals from the medical community, attorneys, Child Abuse and foster care workers, schools and individuals and families. Our counties usually have the highest unemployment rate, dropout rate and one of the highest child abuse rates in the state. Our drug and prescription pill problem is epidemic and families and schools are in a mental health crisis. As a community we have done very little to address our problems except for the recent start of our Roane County Anti-drug Coalition. In an effort to try to elevate some of the school behavior problems our MSW started an anger control group in Calhoun Middle school. It was presented to the school administration as a way to help decrease bullying, fights and class room disruption and was met with open arms. The group is for both “victims” and “bullies” because we do not believe in labeling, very often students are both, and definitely both have anger issues to deal with. This has been very successful. One problem encountered was when the students wanted to bring a friend to group. The MSW’s plan for next fall is to offer all the schools in both counties anger control group, social group and possibly groups for students with ADHD & school phobia/anxiety and kids dealing with divorce and grief.