Mental Health is being brought to the forefront – not just in adults but also our kids.
A local superintendent says some mental health issues can develope in elementary kids.
That’s why one school is breaking down barriers and giving their students a place to cope.
“We’ve noticed over the past few years that our students have indicated that in general they’re less happy,” said Mike McNeff, Rugby Superintendent.
During the winter months, Mike McNeff spoke with the Pierce County Commissioners explaining to them that mental health needs to be addressed.
“Being in a rural area we lack specialized staff,” said McNeff.
The county commissioners agreed but they also saw a need at their correctional center and social services. So, the plan is to have a mental health counselor be in Rugby 3 days a week. The counselor will have a permanent office at the high school but also have the ability to travel to one of the other facilities.
“It’s nice to have a trained professional,” said Kris Blessum, Parent and School Board Member.
The physical education and health teacher says she notices behavioral changes mostly in middle schoolers. She hopes this will give students another outlet to talk instead of letting it build up inside.
“When they get to the high school age they kind of internalize things,” said Denise Myhre, Physical Education/Health Teacher.
The counselor will have access to all students from Pre-K to 12th grade and there will be group and individual therapy sessions.
“I think it’s a good idea,” said Blessum.
Teachers and parents can send a student if they start to notice a problem but students can voluntarily go if they feel they need someone to talk to.”
“I hope students feel comfortable with the mental health counselor,” said Blessum.
Starting this fall the new mental health counselor will be another person that can listen and help individuals get to a place where they feel happy.
Rugby school district is also implementing a social and emotional learning health class this fall for students of all ages.