Mental health services expanding for all students in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Mental health services will be expanding for more than 200,000 kids at over 300 schools in Fresno County.

"Today is one of those moments in Fresno County history that we can all be very proud of," says Fresno County Superintendent Jim Yovino.

The County Board of Supervisors all voted in favor of the new plan that will help bridge the gap between city and county kids. It will make it more accessible for rural area children to get help. That puts over one-hundred eleven million dollars into improving mental health over a five year period.

This means assigning behavioral clinicians to every school in the county, plus building ten health hubs throughout the county.

"So when families need services for their children instead of traveling 60 miles to Downtown Fresno, those hubs will be out in our rural areas like Mendota or Reedley or Firebaugh, says Superintendent Yovino.

School leaders from different districts came to show their support--with the Fowler Unified superintendent calling this decision, 'good government at its finest.'

Services will include giving staff tools to recognize needs in their students, plus focusing on early intervention in kids.

"So when they're going through a difficult time and experience trauma, they learn the skills they need to recognize that and manage their emotions and behavior," says Director of Behavioral Health Dawan Utecht.

The Fresno County superintendent of schools says they will immediately start searching for clinicians to fill over 150 positions.

"Our kids, we need to get to them younger and earlier and with all of the issues going on in our country today whether its violence or shootings, we need to start early," says Superintendent Yovino.
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