When it comes to effectively partnering with institutes of higher education (IHEs), Hennessey Lustica, PhD, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), and Karen Horn, MSW are seasoned professionals. Hennessey is the Community Schools Mental Health Director at Sodus Central School District and Mental Health Service Professional Grant Director, and Karen is an Educational Consultant for School Mental Health Professionals at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI), as well as a School-Based Mental Health grant recipient.
Hennessey’s experience as a school counseling intern as well as a professor of mental health counseling has helped in her efforts to increase the pipeline of mental health providers into rural districts in New York. She currently works with 8 colleges and universities to place school counselors, school psychologists, and licensed mental health counselors across New York State, and she credits her program’s success to her ability to bring secondary and higher education worlds together by “speaking both K-12 and Higher Education languages.” Hennessey highlights the importance of the inter-collaboration between the 8 universities in the program and between the individual cohorts. Interns come together and form a community with one another and with their supervisor, and each program receives training and support specific to their needs.
For Karen, partnering with the institutions of higher education has allowed her team to increase access to school mental health providers across Wisconsin. WDPI partners with The University of Wisconsin Public University System, which has 10 unique programs that support school social workers, psychologists, and counselors. Each program has a different approach and programing model that includes virtual sessions for those not able to come to campus. Karen’s team not only works to connect students to programs like these, but provides working professionals with professional development training, mentoring support, and coaching in support of retention efforts. Karen works with universities individually, meeting with them often to brainstorm how the School-Based Mental Health grant may best serve their students.
Both Hennessey and Karen highlight the need for flexibility when working with IHEs and the importance of supporting supervisors and interns so that they can better support school districts.
To learn more about Hennessey and Karen’s approach to partnering with IHEs, listen to their episode of In Session: Partnering with Institutes of Higher Education with Dr. Hennessey Lustica and Karen Horn | National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE)