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Partnership to provide counseling for KC students

Posted: June 21, 2018 5:07 p.m.
Updated: June 22, 2018 1:00 a.m.

As new violent incidents in schools across the country are reported daily, more and more school administrators are exploring increasing counseling to students.

One partnership hopes to bring critical mental health resources to Kershaw County high schools while offering training for rising psychologists. The Community Medical Clinic (CMC) of Kershaw County, a nonprofit provider of medical care to the uninsured in Kershaw County, is partnering with the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Psychology to provide mental health counseling in all three of Kershaw County’s high schools.

CMC and USC have provided mental health counselors to North Central High School for the past three years.

“We have a lot of kids that struggle with anxiety and depression,” said David Branham, principal of North Central High School. “To have wellness coaches in our schools to help our children through whatever they are facing is invaluable.”

Thanks to new funding from the Health Services District of Kershaw County, the CMC-USC counseling program will be expanded to the other two high schools in Kershaw County, including Lugoff-Elgin and Camden.

“Youth face many challenges today in 2018, not the least of which is mental health,” said Derial Ogburn, chairman of the Health Services District of Kershaw County Board of Trustees. “We look forward to partnering with CMC, the Kershaw County School District, and the USC School of Psychology in expanding assistance and intervention to those students in the Camden and Lugoff/Elgin areas.”

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, all three schools will have mental health counselors available for students during the school day. Students can be referred to these counselors by the school administrators as well as school nurses, teachers and guidance counselors. The program is led by doctoral students in school mental health.

“Our partnership with CMC will greatly increase the capacity to promote mental health at Kershaw County schools,” said Bret Kloos, Ph.D., professor of psychology at USC and director of the Clinical-Community Psychology Doctoral Training Program. “It also provides valuable training experience and collaboration for our students that complements our training program.”

The collaboration is expected to lead to innovation and research that will be instrumental to the health and well-being of teenagers at the three schools and provide models for other community health clinic-school-university partnerships.

“In light of the issues in schools around the country, such as school shootings and the bullying across all age groups, our board sees how important this financial support would be to aid our community youth,” said Susan Outen, trustee and chair of the Community Impact Committee for the Health Services District of Kershaw County.

For access to additional resources about the CMC-USC school counseling partnership, including links to case studies from the mental health program at North Central High School and peer-reviewed articles by USC researchers, contact Dr. Kloos at

About the Health Services District

The Kershaw County Hospital Board, now known as the Health Services District of Kershaw County, is a board of trustees appointed by Kershaw County Council. The board was created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1952 to provide care for those in need in Kershaw County. They act as a provider and facilitator of healthcare access and services in Kershaw County, serving as an important community healthcare partner. Learn more about the Health Services District of Kershaw County at

About the USC Clinical-Community Psychology Doctoral Training Program

USC’s Doctoral Program in Clinical-Community Psychology provides doctoral-level training in understanding the causes of psychological well-being and unwanted psychological conditions and in what intervention strategies are needed to promote more positive lives for people. The program is accredited by the Clinical Psychology by the American Psychological Association. The goal of the Doctoral Program in Clinical-Community Psychology is to educate doctoral students as clinical-community scientists who are prepared to work in a range of roles and contexts, with a training model that provides: (a) training in research and research methods that help inform the planning or delivery of psychosocial interventions and (b) knowledge of how to develop and implement applied practices that are contextually appropriate and grounded in empirical science. For more information about the program, go to

About CMC

Established in 1998, CMC is a community leader in providing healthcare resources and preventative care to the uninsured in Kershaw County. Today, CMC’s mission is twofold. They provide primary care to patients at no cost, while also leading a collaborative effort to empower individuals to take charge of their own health and well-being. The clinic itself serves as the medical home to 800 county residents, resulting in about 3,600 patient visits annually. To learn more about CMC’s work, visit


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