COPPERAS COVE, Texas – With school districts understandably worried about the physical health of their students when returning to campus, the Copperas Cove Independent School District is adding new programs to ensure their mental health is pristine, too.
Thanks to a grant, the school district is adding licensed psychologists and psychiatrists to, among other things, help students cope with the effects of COVID-19.
“There’s different things that happen that creates stress, anxiety, depression, fear with the students,” Copperas Cove ISD Director of Behavioral Health Services Rhonda Burnell said. “We wanted to be proactive, and that the students coming back, we can be ready to serve whatever their needs are as they’re showing up. We’re in a position to provide for those needs.”
With licensed mental health workers now on the campuses of Hettie Halstead and Fairview Miss Jewel Elementary Schools, the district feels they’re taking a step towards eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health.
“We as educators are learning more about the importance of providing mental health services, behavioral health support to kiddos in the school system where we have a captive audience,” Burnell said. “They are regularly attending and they can get the support they need.”
One of the benefits of getting back inside school buildings for students is returning to a normal routine.
“With having routine support, they learn to have consistency and consistency is key whenever you’re providing support for stabilization,” Burnell said. “Having that routine support will allow them to be able to have an identified person they can go to to provide support.”
The uncertainty of COVID-19, however, always threatens to break that routine.
“With uncertainty, it creates anxiety. That’s across the board for any human being. So I think that it is a moving target here,” Burnell said. “We’re all being flexible in that things change from day to day, from hour to hour.”