Partnership with Frontier Health puts licensed therapist in city schools

Published 8:06 am Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Elizabethton High School and T.A. Dugger Jr. High will now have a licensed therapist serving their students, thanks to a recent partnership with Frontier Health.

Public Relations Coordinator for Elizabethton City Schools Nicole Moore said the partnership allows students to get the help they need within their school environments as opposed to having to make potentially long trips.

“We saw students leaving school for counseling services,” Moore said.

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The licensed therapist is Rob Miller, an ETSU graduate who earned his Master’s in 2003 and has spent roughly 15 years in the field. Currently, he works for Frontier Health, the past seven years of which being at the Charlotte Taylor Center in Elizabethton.

“It has been a huge need,” she said. “The students can naturally tell the teacher they need to see someone. […] It is an access awareness.”

She said Miller has had prior experience with city schools in the past. Now that experience is a more regular occurrence.

The move comes after years of greater emphasis on mental health during training for city school teachers, Moore said, as the partnership allows students to speak about problems they are facing in their lives without fear of ridicule.

“We want to be able to let students have a voice in their situations,” she said. “Even if the kid is having a bad day or needs guidance they may not get at home.”

Miller will spend two days a week at EHS and another two at T.A. Dugger, though Moore said they are still determining a specific calendar schedule on which days those will be. The final day of the week will have Miller remain at the Charlotte Taylor Center, where parents and students can visit him directly.

For students who feel they need the support but feel they are unable to approach Miller or have other concerns, she said the information exchanged during a conversation is completely confidential.

“It does not hurt to just go and talk to them,” Moore said.

As the partnership with Frontier Health is still in its infancy, Moore said they do not have immediate plans to expand the partnership into other schools. She said they wanted to see how this partnership benefits the middle and high school students first.

For those looking to reach Miller, parents can either call T.A. Dugger (423-547-8025) or EHS (423-547-8015) and leave a message for him or contact the center at 423-547-5950. The center is located at 426 East G Street in Elizabethton.