SBH Responds to School-Based Behavioral Health Needs in Southside, Virginia


BRUNSWICK, MECKLENBURG, & HALIFAX, VIRGINIA – Southside Behavioral Health (SBH) has been awarded a second school-based mental health grant to procure resources necessary to meet every student’s unique needs. This new award will provide an additional layer of support for students and their families by being present throughout the school day, attending school meetings, and providing crisis support.

“By providing school-based services, we are able to meet with youth on their schedule,” said Divisional Director of Children and Family Services Ruth Ann Ott. “We are putting our individuals first by actively overcoming many barriers to services, such as a lack of transportation, and other scheduling conflicts.”

Both the current school-based funding and the previous awards to SBH come from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS). In the most recent round of awards, SBH was one of 10 community services boards (CSBS) to receive funding for school-based services. This funding arrives at a time when there is an increased need for integrated school-based services as nationwide rates of depression and anxiety among children are rising according to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, who just issued a Surgeon General’s Advisory to highlight the urgent need to address the nation’s youth mental health crisis in December of 2021.

With the initial award, SBH was able to hire dedicated school-based clinicians for each county public school, including Brunswick County Public Schools, Mecklenburg County Public Schools, and Halifax County Public Schools. The second award will be used to hire a Family Support Partner, which will allow SBH to provide parent, student, and family support along with a comprehensive range of services to meet a variety of needs.

“We hope to identify and reduce the number of adverse childhood experiences faced by our local youth,” said Ott. “By doing so, students will have a better chance to succeed both academically and socially.”

About Southside Behavioral Health:
Established in 1972, Southside Behavioral Health provides behavioral health, developmental disability, substance use, and prevention services to the residents of Southside Virginia in Halifax, Mecklenburg, and Brunswick Counties. Southside Behavioral Health is committed to providing individualized culturally competent care in our communities, by supporting wellness and quality of life in a recovery-oriented environment and professional manner. Learn more at: