Weslaco schools to tackle students’ mental health

The Weslaco school district will begin addressing students’ mental health from a “multifaceted approach” as a result of any experiences or trauma incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, officials said in a news release Monday.

Using the district’s social emotional learning plan, school officials believe they can address students’ mental well being now that they have returned to school.

According to WISD Counseling Director Cynthia Cid, national screenings show that children and adolescents are the ones who have emotionally struggled the most due to last year’s shutdown, impacting the students’ school and home life routines.

“Our students have experienced so much stress, worry and grief.” Cid said in the release. “These are stressors that may lead to mental health challenges.”

Students struggled with social isolation and online learning, and if a parent lost their employment due to the lockdown, those difficulties intensified.

Teachers and staff members will be able to make necessary referrals to counselors if they identify signs of mental health issues a student may be struggling with.

Every week, counselors will be providing lessons to all students across every grade level in order to encourage those who may be struggling with anxiety or other mental health issues to seek help.

“Our teachers have received, or in the process of receiving training, on social emotional learning to be able to teach students the skills and knowledge needed to set their goals, manage emotions, empathize with others, maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with others, and make constructive and responsible decisions,” Cid said in the release. “The weekly guidance lessons are purposeful and the counselors try their best to make it relevant and fun.

“As a result, the lessons have been well received by the students.”

According to Cid, the district is expanding personnel to provide additional resources for students and is currently in the process of hiring six licensed professional counselors to help address the challenges students may be experiencing at this time.

Social emotional health and mental health resources are also available on the school district’s website as well.