NORWALK, Conn. -- For more than 15 years the Human Services Council’s Dr. Robert E. Appleby’s School Based Health Centers (SBHCs), have been providing medical and behavioral healthcare services to thousands of Norwalk’s youth.
SBHCs are licensed as outpatient clinics and are in Norwalk’s three high schools, Brien McMahon, Briggs and Norwalk high schools, as well as Nathan Hale, Ponus Ridge and West Rocks middle schools respectively (behavioral health-care only).
Last year alone, more than 2,000 students enrolled in the health centers for a total of 6,655 visits. Over 90 percent of visits resulted in students returning to class. What makes the health center’s so valuable? Not only do students receive top-notch services, but access is immediate, there are no off-putting waiting lists, exclusionary insurance coverage, and/or demographic criteria that render services out of reach – all are served and all are served efficiently.
The unique combination of medical care and counseling, coupled with a strong health education component reinforces healthy lifestyles, promotes prevention, and the early intervention of more serious problems. Few programs have as vast a reach, as broad a range of services, and as direct an impact on Norwalk’s youth.
This is evident through client testimonials. According to one parent, “the most important part of the health center was that it was located in school. My daughter was able to have weekly visits with the social worker to help treat her anxiety and depression, all at no cost. These centers helped shape the person she has become today.”
Additionally, the connection that SBHC staff has with their patients is incredibly profound. “The SBHC staff holds a very special place in my heart,” states a former patient. “If it wasn’t for the Health Center, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet the people who taught me the most important life lessons. Overall, the School Based Health Center and staff made me feel at home, comfortable and safe. Each and every person has impacted my life for the better. I am a much stronger, confident person because of them."
To learn more about the Human Services Council and all the programs offered visit www.hscct.org or call 203-849-1111.
Rhonda Capuano is the director of the Human Services Council's School Based Health Centers.
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