Every student who attends St. Joseph’s Indian School receives comprehensive health services.

Every student who attends St. Joseph’s Indian School receives comprehensive health services.

St. Joseph’s Indian School understands how important it is to serve our students — mind, body, heart and spirit.

Every student who attends St. Joseph’s Indian School receives comprehensive health services, and all these services are provided by the generous support of our donors.

However, there’s an immediate need for new space!

Our current health center, formerly the nuns’ convent from our school’s earlier days, is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), nor does it provide the privacy essential to discuss confidential health information with students.

After seeking the input of our campus community and our students’ families, we’ve made plans to replace the current health center. Our Board of Directors has approved moving forward with a new Health and Family Services Center, and ground was broken in May.

“This new facility is our highest priority at St. Joseph’s. We need additional space that will allow for easy access and bring all health and counseling services together under one roof. It’s the right thing to do and we need to make it happen.” — Doug Knust, St. Joseph’s Indian School Board of Director Member

St. Joseph’s new Health and Family Services Center will make holistic care available to families as well as our students. By working with families, our professional staff can help find real solutions through health monitoring, individual/group counseling, addiction treatment and other appropriate avenues.

Physical Health

St. Joseph’s current health center is open daily and has nurses on call after hours and on weekends. Physician Assistants are available each morning during the week to see to the needs of our students and staff members.

Students are referred to the health center by a houseparent or school staff member whenever there is an injury or illness that needs attention. Barring something serious like an x-ray, St. Joseph’s four nurses, two physician assistants (PAs) and one certified nurse practitioner (CNP) are able to see to all the students’ medical needs.

A range of illnesses and injuries are cared for at the health center — some of St. Joseph’s most common visits are for colds, flu, viruses, allergies, infections, sinusitis, pink eye, strep throat, asthma and athletic injuries. Students stay at the health center during the school day when they are too sick to attend school.

In total, St. Joseph’s students made 2,262 visits to the health center in the 2014-2015 school year!

Nurses at the health center also evaluate our students’ eyesight and arrange for eye appointments if needed. Annual dental appointments with a local dentist are also scheduled by the health center staff. Any time students need to see a specialist, it’s arranged through the health center.

St. Joseph’s new Health and Family Services Center will enable our health center staff to provide comprehensive health services for our students and their families in an ADA-compliant, private space.

The mental health services we provide are crucial and life-changing.

Mental Health

As important as immunizations and regular check-ups are, it’s the mental health services we provide that are perhaps more crucial and life-changing … even life-saving.

In certain areas of the United States, suicide among Native American youth is 9-19 times as frequent as youth of other heritages. The recent rash of suicides and suicide attempts that swept across South Dakota reservations was highly publicized, with feature stories in the national media like NBC News and The New York Times.

Our clinical services team helps youngsters — and their families — deal with everything from homesickness and growing pains to drug addiction and everything in between. To help facilitate more holistic healing, families are included in their child’s care plans through regular meetings, both in person and over the phone.

“We’ll have the space needed for small group counseling and observation windows where we can view play therapy with outside specialists. It will be an ideal area for continued learning and growth allowing us to better meet our children’s needs.” — Julie Soulek, Residential Director Grades 1-6

This project will enable our organization to better meet the healthcare needs of the over 200 Lakota (Sioux) students attending St. Joseph’s Indian School and their families. By addressing mental and emotional issues in addition to physical ailments, the future of the Lakota people will be profoundly impacted as these precious children receive the care and resources they need to live healthy, active lives.

“Coordinated care and early intervention leads to better health outcomes, and better care for the patient.” — Health Service Research journal, Oregon State University

Learn more about the Health Center project.


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