During the COVID-19 outbreak, physical distancing is one of several tools being used to ensure the public remains healthy and safe. As a result, families are working from home, students are learning from home, and social events are cancelled. Now more than ever, it’s important to focus on mental health since the impact of this worldwide pandemic has forced a social void in the lives of many.
Throughout May, EMS ISD is observing Mental Health Awareness Month. District counselors have compiled a list of free and helpful resources to help students, families, and staff manage mental distress. In addition to these resources, counselors and social workers are available to visit by phone or teleconference, and can be reached through their email listed on the department's website. Also, the district Counseling and Campus Support Department’s latest mental health newsletter offers even more support.
“We are finding ways to reach out to every member of the EMS ISD family,” said Mariella Alvarado, Director of Counseling and Campus Support. “Schools provide social and emotional support to students, families, and even staff. Social distancing is challenging us to create ways to provide that same level of support from our homes. Through the Distance Learning platforms, counselors are continuously sending out resources and providing lessons through various on-line platforms. Local resources have also reached out to offer their services as well. Teen Life, a local non-profit, is offering free teleconference groups for students and Mind Above Matter, a behavioral mental health support facility, is offering a free teacher support group once a week.”
The support continues this month as the Counseling and Health Services departments are teaming up to offer an inaugural Virtual Mental Health and Wellness Fair on May 18. Monitor the district website and social media accounts for more information.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 6 youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health condition and 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experience a mental health condition in a given year. Half of all lifetime mental health conditions begin at age 14 and 75% by age 24. Early intervention programs have proven to help.
“It’s vital to highlight statistics like these,” said Alvarado. “It shows that more people than we are aware of deal with mental health issues. Please know that no one is alone. There are many resources available to help our community deal with mental health issues. The first step is to reach out and ask for help.”
For more information or assistance, please contact your counselors or social workers. You can also contact the EMS ISD Counseling and Campus Support Department by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.