WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- About 1,900 U.S. school-based health centers that deliver comprehensive healthcare to students are improving academic success, a non-profit group says.
Linda Juszczak, executive director of the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, which promotes the SBHC model, says SBHCs provide access to primary medical care, mental health services, preventive care, social services and youth development to nearly 2 million U.S. children and adolescents.
High-school SBHC users had a 50 percent decrease in absenteeism and 25 percent decrease in tardiness two months after receiving school-based mental health counseling, Juszczak says.
African-American male SBHC users were three times more likely to stay in school than their peers who did not use an SBHC, while users of mental health services increased their grade point averages over time compared to nonusers, Juszczak adds.
During his State of the Union Address, President Barack Obama cited the Bruce Randolph School in Denver for improving the academic success and dramatically increasing graduation rates. Since 2005, Bruce Randolph's SBHC has been open five days a week for 8 hours a day, Juszczak says.
Out of about 800 students, 700 received services in the 2009-2010 school year. Of these, 36 percent were uninsured and 49 percent were covered by a public health insurance program.