FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – As students and faculty are back in schools, mental health is becoming a focal point.
Fort Wayne Community Schools Superintendent Mark Daniel says mental and behavioral health issues are prevalent across the country, and his district is no different. He say research shows that 1 in 10 teenagers are attempting suicide.
“The isolation that our students had, the fact that they’re coming back, although they were back last year it still weighs heavy I think on their minds, and we need to provide that additional service,” Daniel said.
To combat the issue, Daniels says Fort Wayne Community Schools has hired behavioral specialists, and added additional time with the Bowen Center, the district’s mental health provider. Daniel says the funding is coming primarily from the district’s ESSER Funds.
Daniels says they have also gotten creative with implementing new programs to discuss these issues, have time to reflect, and find ways to ease stress. Not only for students, but for staff as well.
“We’ve also added a program where our teachers can have access 24/7 to a mental health provider, a therapist if you will, because we know we’re all struggling,” Daniel said, “And again, we know when stress tends to way on us, then we tend to move toward depression and other symptoms so we’re trying to keep everyone’s battery charged both physical and mental batteries, and we want to have those discussions.”
Daniels says every week, advisors and advisees’ meet to discuss how things are going, their academic plans, and to build relationship. He says they knew they needed to do something different than last year to close in the gaps they’ve seen in numeracy and literacy scores. Attending to the well-being of students and staff are one of those strategies.