Hillsborough School Board to vote on new mental health plan

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — On Tuesday, the Hillsborough County School Board will vote on a new mental health plan.

“A lot of our students are experiencing some mental health concerns,” mentioned Elizabeth Tanner, Supervisor of Emotional Wellness for Hillsborough County Schools.

Data from the Hillsborough County School District present that in the course of the 2020-2021 faculty 12 months, pupil companies referred about 19,000 college students for mental health companies or help.

“Post pandemic students have been exposed to traumatic events either because of COVID with a parent losing perhaps finances, the cost of living going up. Perhaps they had a death in the family due to the pandemic,” mentioned Tanner.

Hillsborough County School leaders mentioned extra college students proceed to need assistance.

Statewide there’s a way of urgency to present higher mental health helps.

“The mental health needs in Hillsborough County and especially with our public schools is very important. We want to make sure that we’re continuing this good work. We’re enhancing programs with our legislative funds,” mentioned Tanner.

That’s why the board is voting on a new mental health plan that focuses on increasing companies.

“We then send this plan to the state and that’s how we receive our mental health allocation dollars from the legislation and from the state,” mentioned Tanner.

The district is predicted to get extra money this 12 months and with that leaders are hoping to present extra assist to attain extra college students and households in want.

“We want our parents and our community to know that the school is a resource,” mentioned Tanner.

The mental health plan outlines a continued effort by the district and other ways leaders need to use the funding together with:

  • extra mental health consciousness coaching for lecturers
  • menace evaluation groups at every faculty
  • suicide prevention
  • cell response groups
  • hiring extra mental health professionals to enhance direct companies

“We need therapists, counselors, psychologists, social workers, to be working with our students very closely during this time,” mentioned Tanner.

The faculty district additionally needs to proceed working with neighborhood companions to assist college students cope with mental health points.

“Gracepoint Healthcare has been a wonderful partner to assist with students that are in crisis. We are able to more quickly and efficiently serve students who may have a mental health crisis to either divert and get services available or take those students to a receiving facility for further evaluation,” mentioned Turner.

The district’s aim with this plan for the upcoming faculty 12 months is to present vital assist and interventions in a well timed method to make certain pupil wants are met in each faculty.

“We’re trying to lower stigma in general. Having students and families talking about the concerns that they have mental health-wise just encourages early intervention,” mentioned Tanner.

“More emphasis that we put on why it’s important to understand emotional wellness, what it means to be mentally well, and to reach out for help when you’re having a mental health concern is very important,” she added.

The faculty board assembly begins at 4 p.m.

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