Mental Health Services

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Mental Health Services: 
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

We want all of our students to be healthy and ready to learn, and we recognize that strong mental health and wellness play a vital role in a student's growth and success. Students who are struggling with stress, anxiety or other concerns cannot focus on school work. That's why Lakota West High School partners with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to help increase student access to high quality and affordable mental healthcare. 

The partnership is made possible by the district's partnership with MindPeace, a non-profit that serves as a catalyst for connecting its network of professional mental health providers with schools. After a rigorous needs assessment and interview process, we identified Cincinnati Children's as our partner.

Learn more about Lakota's partnership with MindPeace

Meet Our Therapists

West Freshman Campus

Dokas photoAlexandra Jabs
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Alex joined CCHMC at Lakota West Freshman Campus and the Lakota Academy in July 2019. She earned her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The University of Dayton in 2013 and is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor (LPCC-S). She has worked as a therapist with children and families through homebased/residential services, and with college-age students at The Ohio State University. She is also credentialed as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC III).

Alex’s therapy style is best described as strengths-based therapy with key components of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Person Centered techniques. She believes that every student has the power within themselves to create the future they desire and she enjoys collaborating with them to help provide and create the tools they need to reach their goals. She empowers and encourages her students to not merely be spectators, but directors, of their own stories.

Alex is excited to be a part of the Lakota family and looks forward to working with students during one of the most exciting, challenging, and rewarding times of their lives!

West Main Campus

Diersing photoEllen Diersing
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Ellen joined CCHMC at Lakota West High School in July 2019. She has been a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in Ohio since 2015. Ellen has a master’s degree from Indiana University in Counselor and Counseling Education and received her bachelor’s degree from Earlham College in Psychobiology. She has been working in the social services field since 2010 as a therapist, a clinical manager in a residential facility, and as a supervisor with children services.  

Ellen is passionate about supporting students through the social, emotional and academic challenges that manifest during high school. She enjoys working with adolescents to help them grow, develop, and change their own life in a positive manner. Ellen utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to teach students the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as well as draws from mindfulness and creative therapy techniques.

In her spare time, Ellen enjoys spending time with her daughter and husband. When time allows, Ellen likes to catch a Reds game, spend time outside, and visit her family.

Gail Rizzo, therapist for West High SchoolGail Rizzo
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Gail has been a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor (LPCC-S) since 2003 and serves students at both Lakota West campuses, in addition to the Lakota Academy. Gail has additional credentials in Play Therapy and Chemical Dependency Counseling. She loves to utilize creative and expressive therapies in her practice.

Gail has a passion for helping adolescents understand their brain and how they can help themselves grow into healthy emotional development. Gail loves getting to be a part of the Lakota School District and is enjoying getting to see the high-schoolers grow into the best version of themselves.

headshot of tonyTony Gargano
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Anthony Gargano is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Ohio. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Cincinnati Christian University. He has been working in the mental health field for over eight years supporting children, adolescents and families in a variety of settings including outpatient, intensive day treatment, in-home, detention centers, and school. Anthony believes that mental and emotional health is vital to overall well being and his goal is to help individuals attain a greater quality of life.

Aside from counseling, Anthony is a music producer and enjoys writing and recording music with local artists at his home studio. You can catch him occasionally playing guitar with some local bands at festivals and venues across the city. He also enjoys cooking tacos and breakfast food, eating way too much skyline, traveling, and spending time with his wife and two sons.