ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - Story published 7/11/19:
Next school year, students in St. Johns County can count on the help of more professionals trained in mental health.
The school district said it’s going to use $135,000 is state dollars to hire two psychologists and two behavior technicians.
For mom Jen Ross, who has two school-aged boys, it was welcome news.
“The fact that the awareness is there is really great because it needs to happen,” said Ross.
The new hires will bring the total number of school psychologists to 20 and the total number of school behavior technicians to six.
Together, they’ll cover all 40 schools in St. Johns County.
The plan also addresses kids as young as those in elementary school. For instance, the district will introduce curricula in English and language arts classes that aim to help students manage their emotions and learn interpersonal skills.
Timothy Ross, 11, said this plan is something kids his age can benefit from.
“I think that kids who need help should be able to get the help they need,” he said.
The district also plans to implement a youth suicide prevention project.
Leaders also plan on having on-site mental health clinics for 30-minute sessions two hours per week at each school.
Ross believes having access to a mental health professional early on is crucial.
“I think that just like with any other, our physical health, that prevention piece, so getting in there early for prevention is really key,” said Ross.
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