FCPS mental health specialists support students during pandemic

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Posted at 1:25 PM, Jul 16, 2020

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Schools may be out, but that doesn’t mean Fayette County Public Schools officials haven’t been busy, especially when it comes to addressing the mental and emotional health of students.

“With COVID-19 being present, there’s a lot of anxiety from students due to the unknown,” said district mental health specialist Abeer Bateh. “There have been some concerns that have been brought up and I have provided some counseling to students and in one situation, I’ve had to make some referrals to get a student help from outside agencies."

Since the last school year ended, mental health specialists have made thousands of contacts through different methods.

“We do document phone calls, we document home visits, we document telehealth or counseling over the internet, we document our district mental health specialists doing small groups via telehealth and just participating in referrals for services outside of mental health services and things like that,” said Director of Student Support Doug Adams.

Looking ahead to the upcoming school year, there are still plenty of unknowns, but Adams says whether students are in the classroom or learning virtually again, the district will still be there for their mental and emotional health.

“We’ve been providing at risk schools that have certain risk factors additional services and we’ll be adding a full-time mental health specialist at each of the middle schools this year,” said Adams. “We’re very excited about that and we anticipate they’ll be very busy.”

Adams says if a student ever needs professional assistance with social, emotional or mental health needs, families can reach out to a teacher or faculty member, or call the district at 859-381-4100.