Meet Steven Lutes, Manager of School-Based Programs
Steven is very comfortable working with youth in a classroom setting – because he used to be a teacher himself. Steven started his career as a middle school educator and quickly saw that not all students in his classroom were ready to learn. “Academic help wasn’t enough, they struggled socially and with mental health issues,” he says. “You can’t address one thing without addressing the others.”
After several years in education, Steven went back to school, earned his master’s degree in social work and became a licensed social worker which enabled him to work in a variety of day treatment and school-based settings before coming to NYFS. He now supervises other school-based therapists at NYFS and manages a small caseload of his own. “The best part of my job is when I see my clients start to believe in the process and make the changes only they can make.”
NYFS school-based therapists work with students in the Roseville, Mounds View and White Bear Lake school districts and serve youth in elementary through high school settings. Steven says he prefers to work with students in schools because he knows he and his staff can help youth get back on track with the help of their therapists, teachers and other support staff.
“The best part of my job is when I see my clients start to believe in the process and make the changes only they can make.”
“Working together is powerful – not just for the student but for the schools, too.” Steven noted that a teacher he worked with in the past told him they will never teach the same way again after learning how mental health and trauma can affect a student’s ability to learn and function in a classroom. “Teaching the teachers means more students will benefit from school-based mental health work than just the client,” he said.
Steven added that he and his staff are seeing an increase in youth experiencing anxiety and other mental health and social adjustment issues now that schools have returned to more normal in-person settings. “Kids who were struggling before are really struggling now.” He added that the partnerships developed by NYFS therapists with school staff before, during and after the height of the pandemic mean that they are currently able to work well together to quickly identify and serve youth according to their specific needs. “We all want the same thing – for students to be successful.”
For more information about NYFS’ School-Based Mental Health program, visit us on the web at www.nyfs.org/school-based-therapy.