As we reported in March, the City and Schools Partnership in Petersburg is working with the United Way, the non-profit Virginia Premier and the Cameron Foundation, to help establish and support a health center within Petersburg schools, to provide medical care for students that school nurses can’t provide, including those students with trauma based behavioral issues.
Petersburg Health Director Alton Hart supports the project and added that he believes that an art therapist should be available to help students who have experienced trauma and don’t know how to talk about it. “Often times that trauma impacts the right side of the brain, which is the creative side of the brain.”
By providing an outlet through art, he said, “It allows them to begin to express in an artistic way what they have experienced and then, eventually, hope they will be able to communicate what they have experienced.”
All schools in Petersburg, Dr. Hart said, should be trauma informed. “We see the school based health center as an opportunity to begin to provide trauma informed principles and provide that outlet for students.”
The hope is to have the center open by August of next year.