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Geneva County Schools offer mental health services for virtual and traditional students

(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jul. 22, 2020 at 6:34 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -

The 2020-2021 school year is quickly approaching and bringing lots of changes. One of them being whether parents choose the traditional or virtual setting for their child.

One thing they wont have to worry about is staying connected to mental health services.

Schools closing with no warning had every school system in complete shock but Geneva County Schools made sure one thing was certain, the mental health of their students.

“Immediately jumped onto telehealth and so we were able to stay connected with out students throughout this whole ordeal so far and providing them there services in their home which allowed us to connect more with parents and just really help them with the anxiety,” Teresa Holmes, manages mental health services for Geneva County said.

A quick and easy learning curve for Teresa Holmes but for students choosing the virtual route, it may cause some challenges.

“We certainly know though that being apart of school and socialization is vital for kids mental health and so I definitely have concerns about students at home doing virtual school that they will miss out on that. But we just want to make sure we cover their needs just like we do the kids in our traditional school setting,” Becky Birdsong, Geneva County superintendent said.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics they recommend that students should start school with the goal of being physically present. But no matter what setting families choose, Geneva County Schools is making sure every student is accounted for.

“We didn’t have a resource like Teresa Holmes to come in and help us and so basically we just had to deal with that and try to find outside resources. So she is able to bring extra ties to our school, to meet with these kids and visit homes when appropriate so they get help much quicker than if we had to go through a referral process,” Birdsong said.

And that all starts with listening.

“Were just going to try and really be in tune and listen. I’ve learned that throughout this virtual telehealth process that listening is really really important and kids are telling me, I’m lonely. They feel very disconnected so helping them not only connect if they do come back to school but also find some ways to keep them connected on a social level,” Holmes said.

Geneva County Schools are currently scheduled to start back to school on Friday, August 14th.

Copyright 2020 WTVY. All rights reserved.

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