Kentucky students continue to readjust to in-person classes after virtual learning and the changing schedules of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Owensboro Public Schools tackle mental health issues that can arise after a stressful year that has impacted families in Bluegrass State.
There are a total of 23 counselors and social workers on staff at Owensboro Public Schools.
The district also has a partnership with Mountain Comprehensive Care, a community mental health agency, which provides six mental health professionals to the district. These therapists may provide additional services to children and families that would be beyond what school counselors provide.
Summer Bell is a licensed clinical social worker who is the Mental Health Coordinator for Owensboro Public Schools.
“We are certainly seeing an increase in the number of children and parents seeking support services, including mental health,” Bell said. “We have seen an increase in anxiety. We have seen some increase in the number of students suffering from depression. And some are having grieving issues due to the loss of loved ones due to COVID.”
The stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children who may be too young to know how to voice their concerns.
Bell said potential problems are introduced in age-appropriate settings.
“Our school counselors go to all the classrooms and give weekly socio-emotional learning classes,” Bell said. “They focus on emotional regulation, relationship skills, decision-making, self-awareness and self-management.”
Six new councilors were recently added to the district. Four are in elementary schools and one each in high school and the Owensboro Innovation Academy.
A licensed clinical social worker has been added to the college.