New and existing mental health resources can help students at the start of the school year

Socorro Consolidated School District, 700 Franklin Street

As students return to class, some for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020, there could be a surge of students in need of mental health services or supports.

Frances Fuller, social worker for Socorro Consolidated Schools, expects to see more students needing help with anxiety at the start of the school year as online-only learning will no longer be an option. This year. Some students will be back in person for the first time.

The district has resources for students, including a counselor or social worker at each school and a school health center that Socorro Mental Health operates in high school. The health center is open to all students in the district.

There is also a juvenile diversion program that can help students with attendance issues overcome barriers to coming to school.

Aware of the project

One of the newest resources in schools is Project Aware. The five-year grant began last year and provides funding for a therapist that students can meet with and a navigator who can help families apply for benefits, apply for jobs and navigate community resources.

The Project Aware grant is designed to help the district build the infrastructure it needs to sustain the positions over the long term, Fuller said.

School therapists can help students move through the moment and develop coping skills, Fuller said, but the Project Aware therapist can do a bit more, such as working with students through trauma, chronic issues, or mental illnesses. self-harm. She can go to all the schools in the district and have sessions with the families at home outside of school hours.

If someone is struggling with suicidal thoughts, Fuller wants them to know they’re not alone.

“Just because you think about something doesn’t mean you have to believe it. Often when people have thoughts like that, they come very quickly and then they pass. So if anyone is feeling suicidal or has thoughts about dying, I really want them to reach out to someone, whether it’s someone they know or someone they don’t. not through an anonymous resource.

Signs that someone might be struggling include not taking care of themselves, not sleeping and eating, or sleeping too much. It’s important to check in with someone who recently suffered a near loss, Fuller said. If anyone is struggling with complicated grief or sees signs of it in someone they know, the district wants them to reach out as well.

“If you’re seeing complications, like having your own thoughts of dying that are really disruptive, or having trouble taking care of yourself, or really noticing you’re not getting back on track, it may be a sign of complicated grief, which is normal. It happens.”

Mental Health Collaboration

SCOPE Health Council has launched a new mental health collaboration, which held its first meeting last week. It allows providers to work together to help patients get seen.

The first meeting was very positive, Fuller said, as she got to see the number of mental health providers in the community.

“I never want people not asking for help because they think they’re not going to get in because they will,” Fuller said. “And if they say, ‘I try and it doesn’t work’, we as a collective, as a community of mental health care providers, will figure out how to get help for them. I never want people not to come in because there’s just one way.

Providers can be creative in helping to reduce workload by asking school counselors to see students who are not struggling with chronic problems. They can also work together to figure out why a patient who has a referral is having trouble getting in to see a provider, Fuller said.

Warrior Wellness and other hotlines

The district also has several other ways for students, parents, or community members to reach out. The Warrior Wellness line was launched when the school was fully remote and reached Fuller or one of the other school counselors.

“I think it’s important because I never want people to feel like they have to hold heavy things on their own,” Fuller said.

Parents or guardians can also contact them if they need help.

The district also launched the Say Something app at Cottonwood Charter School and Socorro High School. The anonymous reporting app is run by the Sandy Hook Foundation and allows anyone to screenshot, text, or call.

This application is operated from a call center with clinical advisors. They have a memorandum of understanding with the school district and a process with the local 911 dispatch.

If someone tips and the call center counselors decide it is a life safety emergency, school counselors are notified and local law enforcement is dispatched to complete a social assistance check. If they decide it’s not life safety, a team from the school will follow up on the advice.

“Even if a friend has reported being depressed, you can still report it and it’s a way to let someone know anonymously that your friend needs to be watched and we will,” Fuller said.

The new national suicide and crisis number, 988, was launched last month. 988 was formerly known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The old 10-digit number was transferred to the new three-digit number on July 16. By calling 988 you will be connected to trained crisis counselors who can help you with a crisis related to suicide, mental health and addiction.

Bereavement resources

New Mexico Bereavement Center, 505-323-0478

The Dougy Center,

Additional local resources

Casa de Luz, family support services

The Socorro County DWI Program

SCOPE Health Consulting

Mental health services

Socorro Mental Health

Aware of the project

New Mexico Technical Advisory Center

Direct lines

Warrior Wellness Line, 575-838-2543

Crisis text line, 741741

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

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