Mental health resources available for kids this back to school

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) – A pandemic, virtual learning and now inflation are all issues that can impact the family unit – including the little ones.

“Families all face new challenges,” said Donna Leslie, CEO of Carastar Health. “School itself is stressful, kids go to school and have challenges – it’s a whole new world for kids.”

It’s a “whole new world” that some parents may find difficult to understand.

The mental health leader said bullying is a widespread problem. This can be more intense via the Internet and social networks.

“It’s 24/7,” Leslie said. “It’s not just that you go to school and deal with being bullied, it’s that you come home and it follows you.”

As children return to class, mental health professionals want to remind parents that resources are available for children going through a difficult time. In fact, Carastar Health says your child can get help without even leaving school.

“We are at 21 schools in Montgomery,” Leslie added.

Instead of being pulled out of class for an appointment, therapists can go directly to your child for school-based counseling sessions. Parents can also call Carastar Health directly for assistance or to access their crisis center.

“A lot of times it’s hard for kids to tell they’re struggling,” Leslie said. “We have to talk to the children. We need to tell them they can share if they have any problems.

She wants parents to watch for a change in behavior or a drop in grades. This is a common sign that something is wrong.

Parents can ask their child’s school about counseling opportunities or call Carastar’s healthcare professionals directly at 334-279-7830.

There is also a new national crisis hotline, just dial 988.

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