mental health services

What are mental health services?

The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Office of Student Services offers multiple programs designed to meet the mental health needs of Montgomery County School Districts.  Services include but are not limited to:

  • Psychological, Social Work and Counseling Services
  • Restore and Improve Student Engagement (RISE) Program
  • OLWEUS Bullying Prevention Program
  • BrainSTEPS
  • Crisis Response Team
  • Digital Assessment Library
  • Mental Health Professional Development
  • ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program)

Mental Health Services for Schools

Social Work Services

MCIU social workers are clinically licensed and certified as home and school visitors. Social workers are contracted to work with building or district administrators to provide support and help school stakeholders access community resources.  MCIU social workers can assist schools with truancy elimination plans (TEP) and help secondary special education teachers regarding transition plans to effectively transfer from child services to adult systems and/or case management services I.e., mental health services, health benefits, etc.).

MCIU social workers are also available to run counseling groups, including social skills groups or other specialized groups, and MCIU social workers are certified OLWEUS trainers who can consult with schools to implement bullying prevention programs.

Counseling & Therapeutic Support Services

MCIU Mental Health Staff are available to provide therapeutic support virtually and/or on site.  MCIU school counselors, school psychologists and social workers are available to assist Montgomery County Schools with suicide assessment, threat assessment, counseling services and/or crisis intervention.

Psychological Evaluation/Services

MCIU school psychologists are contracted to work with school districts to provide temporary coverage for school districts with district overflow evaluations.  School psychologists conduct psychological evaluations and reevaluations, gifted evaluations, IEP team participation, teacher consultation, and all psycho-educational assessments provided to school age children by MCIU psychologists adhere to PA state special education requirements.

Bi-Lingual Psychological Evaluation

At the school’s request, a bilingual evaluation will be conducted in Spanish and a report will be provided to the school.

Interagency Collaboration

MCIU interagency coordinators facilitate collaboration between schools, parents, students and agencies to coordinate the case for students who have complex needs. MCIU coordinates the interagency meeting that include families, schools, Office of Children and Youth, Mental Health service providers, medical professionals, etc. All individuals, services, and systems involved with a family are brought together for the interagency meeting to develop a plan with coordination of care.

Mental Health Programs for Schools

restore and improve student engagement
Restore and Improve Student Engagement (RISE) Program – Evaluation

The RISE (formerly known as SAIP) Program is a comprehensive school and home-based assessment for students who are having difficulty attending school. The RISE evaluation includes a functional behavior assessment (FBA) of school refusal/avoidance behavior by a BCBA as well as an assessment by a licensed psychologist to identify anxiety or other related mental health challenges that are interfering with school attendance. A licensed mental health specialist is also part of the RISE assessment team to further identify barriers to school attendance and provide resources. A RISE treatment plan, of evidence based interventions to support the student attending school, is developed from the assessment information gathered.
 

*referrals are made by schools.
restore and improve student engagement
Restore and Improve Student Engagement (RISE) Program – Mental Health Services

Ongoing services from a RISE (formerly known as SAIP) mental health clinician are provided to support the student, family, and school with the ultimate goal of improving the student’s attendance. The RISE mental health clinician implements evidence based interventions that address the identified barriers to the student attending school. Mental health clinician services for the parent/guardian are also offered to further assist with education on school refusal behaviors and related mental health challenges. The RISE mental health team collaborates regularly and revises interventions as necessary.

 

*referrals are made by schools.
Mobile Clinician Logo
MCIU Mobile Clinician

Upon request, a team of MCIU mental health clinicians will come to the school site to support a student in crisis. MCIU Mobile Clinician crisis response services include assisting with student de-escalation, conducting risk assessments, performing threat assessments, identifying an appropriate level of care (outpatient, IBHS, family-based, inpatient, or partial hospitalization, etc.) and helping with access to community mental health support based on assessment results. Mental health mobile clinicians are also available to provide ongoing therapeutic support and counseling services to students receiving homebound/instruction.

 

*referrals are made by schools.
BrainSTEPS

BrainSTEPS is a child and adolescent brain injury school re-entry program.   Trained BrainSTEPS team members work with schools to make sure that those who provide educational support to children with brain injury have a good understanding that will help these students achieve optimal educational success.

 

*referrals are made by schools.
Crisis Response Team logo
Crisis Support

Upon request/need, MCIU will send out teams of mental health specialists to support at times of crisis. Members of the MCIU mental health crisis response team work in partnership with school personnel to provide counseling/emotional support. Intervention services include on scene crisis support, individual/small group counseling, referral to community mental health providers, grief counseling, and assistance with identifying /helping students in crisis. MCIU mental health staff are also available to conduct threat assessments and/or risk assessments/suicide screening.

 

*referrals are made by schools.
Montgomery County Digital Assessment Library (DAL) Consortium

School districts that participate in the Montgomery County DAL Consortium receive unlimited use of the digital assessment library and resources on both Pearson Q-Global and Pearson Q-Interactive platforms for unlimited users.

A list of assessments currently available can be found HERE.

 

*referrals are made by schools.

Mental Health Professional Development

The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit offers a variety of workshops to support professional development for those who work with students that have mental health needs. All training may be provided virtually. School districts requesting professional development for staff can use this form to enter a request.

Student Assistance Program
student assistance
PA threat assessment
Trauma 101 Training
Vicarious Trauma Workshop
bullying
prepare workshop
QPR workshop
Link to professional development request form

ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program)

ExplorationsPHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) is a sub-acute program for children and adolescents with chronic or acute mental disorders who require active treatment. The community-based program operates with a maximum of 30 students for a 10 to 20 week anticipated length of stay. The program focuses on stabilizing the student’s emotions and teaching the students acceptable behavior in order to transition back to the least restrictive environment with appropriate services in place.

Dr. Brittany Lourea-Waddell

Director of the Office of Student Services

610-755-9433
bwaddell@mciu.org

Christina Wells

Program Administrator of Partial Hospitalizations Programs

610-755-9485
cwells@mciu.org

Dr. Aviele Koffler

Dr. Aviele Koffler

Program Administrator of Mental Health Services

akoffler@mciu.org
610-755-9342

FOLLOW:

Dr. Aviele Koffler is a licensed psychologist, a certified school psychologist, and a supervisor of pupil personnel who has extensive experience working in mental health and educational settings. Dr. Koffler earned her undergraduate degree, summa cum laude, from the George Washington University and received a Ph.D. in Clinical and School psychology from Hofstra University. Prior to joining the MCIU, Dr. Koffler served as a psychologist for Rose Tree Media School District providing therapeutic services and developing programs to address emotional and behavioral needs of students. Dr. Koffler also served as a school psychologist for Colonial School District and for Upper Darby School District and is well-versed in writing comprehensive evaluation reports.

Dr. Koffler is passionate about supporting the mental health needs of students and schools. She supervises MCIU school psychologists, school counselors, and school social workers who provide services for districts and non-public schools. She also oversees MCIU mental health programs including the School Attendance Improvement Program (SAIP), crisis intervention/response efforts, bullying prevention, BrainSTEPS, and mental health trainings and professional development.