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School Based Therapy Services

Wyoming Behavioral Institute (WBI) is pleased to announce the expansion of our partnership with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) to provide access to school-based teletherapy services for elementary, junior high and high school students. Students enrolled in Sweetwater County School District No. 2 and Niobrara County School District No. 1 schools, well as the Wyoming Virtual Academy, were added to Project AWARE this year. WBI has been collaborating since 2022 with Carbon County School District No. 1 and Sweetwater County School District No. 1 on the delivery of teletherapy services.

Major contributors to educational outcomes for children include their mental health and social emotional learning. National data shows that one in five students has a diagnosable mental health disorder and 75% to 80% of students who need mental health services do not receive them. More than 2 million young people in the United States have an emotional and/or behavioral disability and there are increasingly high numbers of students negatively impacted by adverse childhood experiences. These traumas and stressors can change the beliefs and mindsets of children that interfere with learning and result in negative school experiences.

Students with ongoing untreated mental health issues often need intensive therapeutic supports not available in most classrooms, and families may find it difficult to access services due to income, transportation, work conflicts and the needs of other family members. Provision of mental health services in the school system promotes relationship building between educators and therapeutic teams and improves outcomes because students receive consistent, ongoing treatment.

WBI’s mental health therapists will provide therapy to students referred by schools and will have therapists available for consultation with families and district staff. Therapists also will be available during school breaks. WBI provides support for healing in which students can develop new skills and learn appropriate methods of self-expression. Our services are intended for youth who have experienced trauma and face lasting mental and emotional effects from it.

WBI serves as central Wyoming’s primary resource for mental health crisis evaluation and inpatient treatment. WBI is uniquely positioned to provide treatment for students experiencing crises, support for students experiencing difficulties with life transitions, identification and early intervention in diagnosable mental health conditions, and family therapy.

Our hospital continues to look for opportunities to develop and implement effective strategies to partner with the State of Wyoming and school districts for early intervention in the mental health issues underlying suicide attempts, self-harming, threats and violence against others, and school failure.

About Wyoming Behavioral Institute

WBI’s Outpatient and Telehealth Clinic serves children, adolescents, and adults. In person psychiatry for all ages, and TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) for adults are offered in Casper. Teletherapy for children, adolescents and adults is available statewide. For information about teletherapy, visit Outpatient and Telehealth (wbihelp.com), email [email protected] or call 307-439-2139.

School Resources

Art therapist Jessie Bell has been enlivening and brightening the halls of Wyoming Behavioral Institute with murals painted to reflect the natural beauty of our state, and the joy and complexity of recovery. The number of murals has grown from an initial window-box like seating area near the youth acute nurses’ station to more than a dozen scenes throughout the hospital, in the school, quiet rooms, and patient care areas. Some of the murals incorporate flowers, birds, and animals, and most have hidden nuances discovered only after spending time studying them. Jessie’s weekly art therapy sessions on the Pathways psychiatric residential treatment get great reviews. Her groups have presented their work in art shows featured in the WBI school area. Art therapy has been found to be helpful in recovery from mental illnesses by helping people express themselves. The basis of art therapy is that people can recover and feel better using art to process and share their thoughts, emotions, and inner selves. A prolific artist, Jessie has painted murals in downtown Casper and at other care facilities in the community. She was recently featured at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming, with her art show set to music called “Mixed Feelings.” She is also a singer, comedian, and public speaker.