A Rural Look: School-Based Health Centers Facing Daunting Challenges
Most are practitioners in the field are aware that school-based and school-linked health centers are doing more than just providing basic care; they are providing life skills, mental health services, relationships, and sometimes even shoes.
Communications Director Kevin Lignell had an opportunity to visit Spectrum’s Lakeview Youth Clinic, and Belding Center, which opened earlier this month. He interviewed Sara Dishong-Perez and Brandon Holmes them about their experiences in their school-based/linked health centers. Due to a lack of services in rural communities, clinicians are finding they have to go above and beyond to offer basic things such as clothing and tooth brushes. It’s a daunting task. Dishong-Perez was shocked at what she experienced:
I was just blown away, blown away at just the amount of need in my little community. Just the need of the students with no water, no toothbrushes, never leaving Lakeview – I didn’t know that kids never left Lakeview. I never knew that they didn’t go to a big chain grocery store. That they didn’t know what Meijer was. Who doesn’t know what Meijer is?
Brandon Holmes saw several children who lacked basic necessities, coming to his center without shoes or pants:
Last year we had some kids walk in with no shoes, kinda need shoes here in the clinic, we need you to put something on your feet. She said I don’t have any shoes. My mom does have any money, I don’t have any shoes I cannot afford any.
We had a girl come in from school who was just underwear and a t-shirt and needed shorts. Thankfully we had some, it was a little big, but it was before our store was really full. We were able to give her something to put on so she was dressed appropriately.
Despite all the challenges, kids are leaving their appointments with full bellies and shoes on their feet.
Watch the full video below:
Thanks Kevin! It was great to have you out and about visiting our rural towns and clinics. I appreciate that rural area schools and communities are finally really being acknowledged as facing some of the same difficulties like those of inner city schools and communites. Adolescents having access to medical and mental health services is huge for rural areas with very limited resources. Thank You for your continued support.