Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a school-based, group, and individual intervention. It is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems, and to improve functioning, school attendance, grades, peer and parent support, and coping skills. School Districts across the county are seeing the need for increased intervention for students who have experienced trauma.

In 2004, through a federal SAMHSA grant and then sustained through the United Way of Dane County in 2007, Journey began offering CBITS services to area sixth-graders. In the spring of 2019, the Madison Metropolitan School District board voted to fund a new CBITS program for MMSD high schools. As a result of this decision, Shabazz, West and Memorial High Schools have begun implementing CBITS in their schools this year. Oregon High School has  begun their own initiative and is screening their entire 10th grade. Last year they focused on their alternative high school programs; Achieve and OASIS.

Nelsie Stern, a CBITS Coordinator for Journey’s CBITS program has been busy screening students for the program.  Stern reports that they are “working with our community partners to identify students who have experienced traumatic or stressful events. We can then provide early, effective intervention to help them decrease the emotional impact of their trauma and help them develop skills that build resiliency. School leaders are seeing the need for mental health services and the positive impact that these services have on their students. The demand for groups is increasing every year and we are committed to providing strong, evidenced-based trauma intervention to Dane County students.”

With these additional schools, Journey will screen over 5,000 students in Dane County for trauma exposure, trauma symptoms, and depression. Journey’s CBITS program is now running in 24 schools. We expect to see this trend continue as schools take steps to provide increased support for students struggling with traumatic stress. The CBITS program will continue to work hard to meet these needs.