More Students Need Mental Health Assistance Than Anticipated

Paula Ward, Director of Counseling
Paula Ward, Director of Counseling
Amy Hord, Counselor
Amy Hord, Counselor

More elementary school students are needing mental health counseling than anticipated.

You may be surprised just how many students need counseling in the Amarillo ISD but the District is meeting those needs.

The intention of the Safe kids, Healthy Schools grant was to reach at least 250 students each year, but nearly 50 students received assistance in last month alone.

Counselors say the pressures of performing well in school are catching up to local kids as early as elementary school.

Director of Counseling Paula Ward says, "I do know our students are more stressed these days. They have much more to deal with school is getting much much harder, more fast paced."

And this pressure is causing some students to give up.

Newly Hired Lead Counselor Amy Hord says,"Hopefully when we look back in a year at how many children we've seen, lower truancy rate, lower suicide risks with the kids, lower drug alcohol abuse."

The top reasons students request help include suicide threats, depression, grief, and behavior problems.

Hord says parents need to be on alert for signs of mental instability in their child. "They may think it's just a typical teenage problem or adolescent problem but there certainty could be some other issues so the child doesn't have bigger problems later on. "

Five mental health professionals have been working full time to assist students from kindergarten on through twelfth grade.

Parents and students can receive assistance by filling out a request sheet at the school's counseling office or by calling the student's academic counselor directly.