The isolation and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 is stressful for adults, but it can be even more upsetting for young people.
The Henderson County school system is offering counseling for students, and workshops for adults to help them get through the pandemic.
In addition to school guidance counselors, Henderson County Schools have seven mental health counselors. Four of the seven are funded by a federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMSA.
The funding is for Project AWARE, which is to increase knowledge about mental health-related issues in the community.
Jamie Like, Project AWARE grant director for Henderson County Schools, said the grant helps expand mental health services to students and families.
“We’ve had a lot of kids on Google Meets with our mental health counselors who have to sometimes talk in code or type something into the chat box rather than say it verbally because there is an adult present in the room," said Like. "And maybe an adult, you know, who doesn’t want that child to be sharing what they’re thinking or feeling.”
She said students have had their school schedules changed several times during the pandemic and with virtual-only instruction, young people don't have the in-person connections that are vital for children and adults.
“What a lot of kids are telling us is that they’re having a lot of depression and they’re having a lot of anxiety," said Like.
She said offering consistency and connection with family and friends, including family dinners and virtual gatherings, can help young people keep a positive outlook through the tension of the pandemic.
The district offers a workshop called “Youth Mental Health First Aid” that’s open to anyone in the community at no cost. Like is the contact for upcoming sessions of the workshop, with the next one expected to be held in January.