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Lee County schools looking to address mental health in the classroom

School security isn’t the only thing on the minds of Lee County school leaders as students prepare to return to campus. Children’s mental health is also a concern.

A new plan will be presented to the school board Tuesday afternoon with new tools so teachers and staff are ready to help your child return during this pandemic.

When teachers walk through the school doors in one month they’ll have a new toolkit developed by mental health professionals that’ll help ease teachers when they start their day.

The toolkit includes activities to use in morning meetings that help acknowledge how kids are feeling once they come back and also includes tools to help address any health concerns students and their families have.

Over the years the district has worked to hire more mental health staff made up of school counselors, psychologists, and nurses. Now they have over 250 people hired in addition to partnerships with a number of mental health professionals in the community making sure your child is getting support from both a behavioral and social aspect, including kids’ minds matter and Saluscare.

Mental health professionals we spoke to say they expect the need for services to increase this fall.

“When you add a pandemic onto all of that including children staying at home and families that are really stressed an not having the outlet of school you’re going to take all of those behavioral health problems and just exacerbate it,” said Paul Simeone, Vice President of Mental and Behavioral Health.

The school district will discuss the plan at Tuesday’s school board meeting. They’re investing $3.2 million in making sure your child’s well being is cared for.

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