When students at most Camden County schools experience a mental health crisis, they need to get evaluations and clearances before they can return to class.
Most cases don’t require a hospital admission for a student to receive treatment, but with few other options for quick evaluations and clearances, many students and their families end up in emergency departments.
During the last school year, Camden County schools referred students in crisis to emergency rooms at Jefferson Health, Cooper University Health Care, and Virtua Health approximately 2,500 times, according to county officials.
Now, a school program launching this fall aims to provide these services in therapists’ offices and save students from what can be time-consuming, costly, and stressful ER visits.
“Our belief is that there’s a more compassionate way to handle these types of crises,” said Dan Del Vecchio, superintendent of the Camden County Educational Services Commission. “Which is why we started down the path of, how can we redirect students from the emergency department?”