Several months back I was contacted by some board members apart of O.P.E.N (Opiate Prescription drug Education Network) looking to have some presentations done in their local community of Branford, Connecticut. I was expecting, as I do every location I go to, for things to go exceptionally well. What I wasn’t planning on was learning some extremely unique things about this little area called Branford.
Upon meeting board members of O.P.E.N I was given a tour of the local middle school. This school was under a huge remodeling project, it was using an open theory model (I think thats what it was called) which was basically a gigantic open school and the only thing that separated the class rooms was partitions, there are no doors with this type of model. The best part about this tour was learning about this school districts extremely unique and by extremely I mean I have not yet seen anything like this in all of my traveling.
What I was shown was called a “School based health clinic” and basically if I can sum this up.. The students at one point in their k-12 schooling would have an opportunity to be at a school with one of these onsite clinics. Imagine having a Dr.’s office on campus, with real medical staff and this includes an onsite therapist/counselor. These students were really being cared for and looked after in all areas, physical and mental health related. I’m not sure why every campus in the country does not have these clinics, I mean obviously it’s all about the money part but in Branford they have kept this alive for quiet some time and I think they really need to be commended for it, especially the therapy component. The earlier that students are exposed to therapy the more likely things are to be alleviated and the less of a stigma there will be around mental health. Bravo Branford, amazing job with this.
Both presentations I gave went awesome. I gave a small one to the leaders of behavioral health department and a second presentation to over 100 people from the community. The senator and other council members were in the house briefly which I thought was particularly cool. O.P.E.N did a wonderful job with raffle prizes for the event as well! Lots of cool skateboards, helmets, gift cards and a awesome “Sunday” bike.
I really want to say thank you to everyone at O.P.E.N for working so hard to get me into Branford!