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Lee County Schools and Salus Care partner to help students’ mental health

A $1 million partnership between Lee County Schools and Salus Care has mental health teams in three school zones reducing stress in your home.

Each team will consist of of a master’s-level family clinician and a bachelor’s-level resource specialist. A family receiving services will participate in counseling to reduce family stress and get connected to community resources including basic need assistance, medical insurance, job placement services, housing resources, etc. as indicated by an initial assessment of family needs.

The school district says it made 554 referrals to Salus Care between July 2019 and July 2020. And because of pandemic-related stress, school leaders say this resource is needed now more than ever.

“I think there is a lot of fear,” said Mary Fischer, Lee County School Board chair. “Children are having to wear masks to school, it’s a whole different climate, actually, and as much as we’re doing to try to keep our schools clean and safe, it is frightening for some children. It is a huge adjustment.”

The first step for children is meeting with someone in their school and communicating how they feel. After that, the school can recommend them to Salus Care.

Salus Care says me a lot of the help starts at home; parents need to reinforce that it is a safe place to share their feelings, especially for younger children who can’t communicate as well.

“First talk to them, let them know they have a safe space to come to you and really express how they’re feeling,” said Georgina Silinski of Salus Care. “Because I think a lot of kids, for one, they don’t have the words, especially younger kids—they don’t know what they’re feeling, or what they’re seeing, And some of them may be getting little snippets of news and different things.”

Salus Care recommends different apps that focus on meditation as some of the simplest ways to help with mental health.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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