Focusing on academics is challenging enough but where can students turn when their troubling thoughts keep them from concentrating?
Marjorie Miller and Miranda Burnett are Licensed Clinical Social Workers recently hired as part of a federal Project AWARE Grant who will work with students, staff and parents.
The district is one of three in Kentucky piloting a $9 million federal grant to increase awareness of mental health issues among Kentucky students
“We will be working with the students who have mental health needs that may not be getting met; specifically focusing on students who have and/or are suffering from trauma-related issues,” Miller said. “We will provide school based therapy services to students of Bullitt County Schools.”
Burnett said she and Miller want students to know they are important, are being seen and are being heard.
“Our focus will be on students who are not getting services through our local community mental health agency or outside agencies. We will also focus on helping with transitions for students who are hospitalized for mental health needs,” she said.
Today’s society necessitates such services because although schools are traditionally safe places, students carry in a lot of emotional baggage.
“Schools are in need of this service to help students address their mental health needs so they can be able to obtain their education,” Burnett said. “Some students are unable to focus on their academics because of their mental health needs and trauma history, which can lead to behavior issues, emotional dysregulation, and withdrawing. As mental health professionals, we will be able to help teachers, staff, and parents work with the student to become academically successful and healthy mentally.”
Miller agreed adding they will be working with students during school hours.
“We will visit the schools and take the students out of classes that school staff recommend,” she said.
The LCSWs know what therapy works best with age.
“With elementary students, we use play therapy techniques to build rapport and start conversations with students” Burnett noted. “Children communicate through play. With middle and high school students, we use different activities and interventions to build rapport and communicate with students. It all really depends on the student. It is a possibility for students to engage in individual therapy as well as group.”
Parents will have the opportunity to be involved with student treatment.
“They will be contacted before, after, and during treatment as needed,” Burnett said. “Engagement will increase student success rate with academics as well as with therapy. We strongly encourage parents and guardians to be active in all aspects of their children’s lives.”
Miller said she and Burnett would be more than happy to work with the family as a whole.
“This can be achieved through phone contact and/or family therapy sessions,” she said. “Therapists can attend school meetings as an extra support for the student. Parent support will also be given through any needed hospitalization transitions.”
Measuring success can be seen through improved attendance, decreased suspensions and referrals, and student/parent/teacher report.
Burnett earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville’s Kent School of Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree with Extended Psychology Major from Western Kentucky University.
She has worked at the Centene Corporation in Fort Knox, Communicare Services in Elizabethtown and as an in-home therapist.
Miller has a Master of Science in Social Work from the University of Louisville and Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Spalding University.
She founded Miller Counseling, LLC Shepherdsville in 2002 and has worked at Our Lady of Peace in Louisville, the Whitney Young Job Corps Center, the Mental Health Network (San Rafael, CA) working at Ft Knox, Centerstone and Jefferson County Public Schools.