Expanded federal grant to provide local teachers and students with mental health resources

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – The Pima County Health Department is expanding a program originally introduced during the pandemic to provide additional mental health support to students and school staff.

Matt Schmidgall, school programs manager for the Pima County Health Department, said remote learning during the pandemic has had a big impact on students and teachers and the health department wants to improve. ensure that it provides easily accessible resources.

“Through this program, they can bypass that lengthy admissions process. No rating. Really a great way to learn about the mental health support available in our community,” Schmidgall said.

Raquel Goodrich, CEO of Text, Talk, Act is working with the county to provide resources through a text messaging app.

Goodrich said students and staff can get advice, watch videos and get mental health support right here through their phones.

“We spent months traveling around the county, talking to young people, talking to education staff to better understand what their mental health needs are as we navigate through the pandemic,” Goodrich said. “We now have this specific app available for K-12 students and all education staff.”

It works by texting “Connect” to (833) 429-1994 for student activity or “Staff” to (833) 429-1005. By texting this number with the specific title, you will get mental health resources tailored to your needs.

“If you’re a student, you’ll learn coping skills. That’s the most important thing we’ve learned from young people, that they understand mental health, they’re comfortable talking about it, but they don’t necessarily have the skills they need to be able to take care of their mental health,” says Goodrich.

She said they learned that teachers felt overwhelmed or “burnt out.” Goodrich said they are working to help teachers maintain a balance between work and home after they return to the classroom full-time.

“The past two years have been really tough in terms of workload, burnout and stress,” Goodrich said. “Most importantly, we have learned that there are systemic issues and the app is designed so that we can hear from them about some of these fundamental issues that they are facing, so that we as a group of the community, can watch to see if we can fix some of these issues.

The app also gives links to in-person services via a countywide link.

Researchers hope to learn more and understand how to help more people.

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