Chelsea Public Schools, City of Chelsea Announce Collaborative Effort to Enhance Youth Mental Health Services in Schools

  • Youth Mental Health AwarenessCHELSEA, Mass. – Chelsea Public Schools and the City of Chelsea’s Office Housing and Community Development jointly announced today (January 30, 2023) a plan to enhance and bolster youth mental health services available to CPS students.

    The plan will be funded through the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) community recovery program. It includes four initiatives that will support the needs of Chelsea kids. These initiatives are the expansion of free telehealth services for mental and behavioral health currently in place at CPS, a therapeutic after school program, a new full-time mental health clinician at CPS and the addition of paid student instructors who will support existing after school wellness programs, while gaining work experience and developing valuable skills.

    This collaboration of City and CPS resources stems from the work of the Chelsea Children’s Cabinet and the Chelsea Cares campaign. The Children’s Cabinet is an all-encompassing group of Chelsea constituents who work collaboratively to support Chelsea’s youth. Individuals on the Children’s Cabinet who held important roles in developing this plan include Superintendent of Schools Dr. Almi G. Abeyta, former Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino, CPS Equity, Diversity and Excellence Officer Dr. Aaron Jennings and Chelsea Director of Housing and Community Development Alex Train.

    “I am grateful for the collaboration of the Chelsea Children's Cabinet.  As a Cabinet, youth mental health was a concern for us.  Thus, we prioritized this area city-wide.  I am thankful for everyone working together to meet the needs of our community,” Dr. Abeyta commented.

    Ambrosino added, “These initiatives will directly help the youth in Chelsea. Our community engagement process informed us that access to mental health services was a priority for residents, specifically Chelsea youth. I look forward to seeing this plan implemented at CPS.”

    “Fostering social connections, eliminating stigma, and deliberately expanding the availability of free, accessible mental health services youth are comfortable accessing are crucial to supporting the wellbeing of all students,” announced Train.” “We’re grateful to the Chelsea City Council, Chelsea School Committee, and CPS for leading these critical investments to support students enduring trauma related to racism, economic injustice, and the lasting impact of the pandemic.” 

    Mental and Behavioral Health was one of six spending priority areas identified by the ARPA Community Advisory Committee. As announced last March, over $2.5 million of the $15 million in available ARPA funding will be allocated to Mental and Behavioral Health needs of Chelsea residents. This priority was identified after a robust community engagement process that collected input from all residents about how best to utilize ARPA funds.

    This work is rooted in the priority areas of the CPS Strategic Plan for Improving Teaching and Learning for Every Student, Every Day: Bridge to Success 2.0. The influx of ARPA-supported initiatives will build on existing systems implemented by CPS this school year to support the mental health needs of students. CPS established partnerships with Cartwheel Care and Gaggle in 2022-23 to bring their respective resources into Chelsea schools. The former provides mental health support for all students as well as telehealth services specifically for high school students. The latter provides telehealth services at the middle school level.