Fequently Asked Questions, and Answers

  • Where can I find more information about the mental health services that are available in this community?

    Your local community mental health center is a great starting point. Johnson County Mental Health offers a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents in Olathe. They will conduct an assessment of your situation and link you to the appropriate intervention or provide referral to other community agencies. They can be reached at 913-826-4200.

    Will talking about suicide or asking about suicidal intentions encourage the person to kill themselves?

    No. Asking a person directly about their suicidal feelings will often lower their anxiety level and act as a deterrent. Conveying openness and concern can help a person feel comfortable to talk about their problems and help them feel less isolated.

    Which providers can be used with the district’s EAP?

    In order to access the district’s EAP, staff members either need to call 800-624-5544 or log into the New Directions website and use the company code Olathe Schools. Callers will speak with a licensed mental health professional who will take some background information and match callers with a mental health professional who specializes in helping with the issues presented. Accessing the website will provide the same information. After receiving the contact information for the mental health professionals, it is up to the individual to make an appointment with the professional. Typically, it will take a week to 10 days to get an appointment. Mental health providers who see EAP clients are constantly changing based on the provider’s ability to see clients so there isn’t a “list.” All providers are licensed to practice in the state of Kansas. The local community mental health center is a great starting point. Johnson County Mental Health offers a wide range of mental health and substance abuse services to residents in Olathe. They will conduct an assessment of the individual's situation and link them to the appropriate intervention or provide referral to other community agencies. Johnson County Mental Health can be reached at 913-826-4200.

    My student is much more irritable after being home so long. Should they see a counselor when school resumes?

    Anytime a student is showing more irritation (or more lethargy) than usual, seeing their school counselor is a good idea. The school counselor will be able to work with the student to determine whether the student’s behavior is situational or more serious.

    If we think our student needs to see a counselor/therapist, how do we go about setting up an appointment?

    The student’s school counselor is the starting point for starting mental health services. When contacting the school counselor, state the concerns for the student and ask who the student can see. The school counselor will then be able to know whether the student would be best served by a school counselor, social worker, school psychologist, student wellness advocate, or contract therapist. Once that determination is made, services can start. Not all providers are available in all school settings.

    Are counseling/therapy appointments free? Is there a limit?

    All counseling services are free except from contract therapists. Contract therapists charge a fee and will bill insurance if they are part of the individual's insurance panel. If the student is recommended for a contract therapist’s services and parents are unable to afford the fee, the school district will pay for up to six sessions with that therapist. All school counselor, student wellness advocate, mental health liaison, social worker, and school psychologist services are free.

    How does the district support students with more severe mental health needs?

    Students with severe mental health needs are supported in a variety of ways. Students can be supported at the classroom level with their teachers providing individual accommodations as needed. Students may also receive regular counseling services through one of the school’s mental health providers. The school can also consult with the student’s doctor and can collaborate to provide support based on outside care. In some instances, a student may also be supported with a 504 or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) if they meet requirements.

    Are nurses well versed in medications used to treat more severe mental health disorders?

    All district nurses are RNs who are versed in the medications they administer. If there is anything in particular that a parent is concerned about, the parent should certainly contact the nurse. Parents should also let the nurse know which medications the student takes at home if they want in-school monitoring for symptoms since the nurse would not know to watch for symptoms if the nurse is unaware that the student is taking a particular medication at home.

    Are staff educated on the mental health needs of students?

    All staff receive one hour of suicide prevention training annually that not only covers suicidal warning signs, but common mental health issues. In addition, many staff have received optional training in mental health first aid and building-based professional development on the topic of mental health.

    What is the role of a Student Wellness Advocate/Mental Health Liaison?

    Student Wellness Advocates and Mental Health Liaisons are licensed mental health providers who are Olathe Public Schools employees. They work in one or more school buildings providing individual and group therapy as well as collaborating with teachers on classroom supports and consulting with community-based providers for support students.