Mental health resources available for children this back-to-school season

Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 5:40 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - A pandemic, virtual learning and now inflation are all issues that can impact the family unit – including little ones.

“Families have all set of new challenges that they have to deal with,” said Donna Leslie, executive director of Carastar Health. “School itself is stressful, kids going to school and having to deal with the challenges - it’s a whole new world for kids.”

It is a “whole new world” that some parents may struggle to understand.

The mental health leader said bullying is a prevalent problem. It can be more intense through the internet and social media.

“It’s 24/7,” Leslie said. “It’s not just you go to school, and you’re dealing with being picked on, It’s you go home, and it follows you.”

With kids heading back to the classroom, mental health professionals want to remind parents that resources are available for children who are having a tough time. In fact, Carastar Health said your child can get help without even leaving their school.

“We’re in 21 schools in Montgomery,” Leslie added.

Instead of being pulled out of classes for an appointment, therapists can go directly to your child for school-based counseling sessions. Parents can also call Carastar Health directly for assistance or to access their crisis center.

“A lot of times, it’s hard for kids to say that they’re struggling,” Leslie said. “We’ve got to talk to kids. We’ve got to tell them it’s okay to share if they’re having problems.”

She wants parents to watch for a change in behavior or grades slipping. It is a common sign something is wrong.

Parents can ask their child’s school about counseling opportunities or call Carastar Health professionals directly at 334-279-7830.

There is also a new national crisis hotline, simply dial 988.

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