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Dwyer High School football coaches double as behavioral health specialists

'It's one of the most important positions to have,' coach Alex Malsbury says
Junior varsity football coach Keathun Gale embraces a student at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens during the 2022-23 academic year.jpg
Posted at 9:59 AM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 11:21:03-04

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Several football coaches at William T. Dwyer High School in Palm Beach Gardens are doing more than coaching. They're also behavioral health specialists, identifying students who are struggling with a variety of issues.

"Every student is different, so there's no cookie cutter approach on how you deal with one particular student," said junior varsity football coach Keathun Gale.

Overcoming challenging times is a focus these days at Dwyer High School, making sure students always know there's a helping hand with a Dwyer school-based team.

Gale is part of that team as a positive behavior coach.

"School-based team, I like to use the Marvel Avengers-type metaphor in terms of a number of different resources coming together, basically to serve our students," Gale said.

With more than 2,400 students at Dwyer High School at any time, students face a variety of challenges. Strategic planning is essential.

"I want to make sure that I can give interventions to our students who may be having difficulty," Gale said. "Whether that difficulty is reaching a parent at home or having an issue with a teacher or another student that needs remediation."

No one day is the same at Dwyer High School, and the old adage, "It takes a village to raise a child," applies here.

Alex Malsbury is also a coach and the on-site crisis counselor.

"I feel like it's one of the most important positions to have in the high school," Malsbury said. "There is such a demand for mental health now, especially after COVID. I've seen personally a dramatic rise in depression and anxiety."

The school-based team of behavioral health experts is all about guiding students through tough times, connecting them to services to support their mental health.