Safely Back to School: School districts offering virtual mental health resources

Posted at 7:57 AM, Jul 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-31 10:57:24-04

BAKERSFIELD, CA.  — “We’ve never experienced anything like this before it's not that it can't be done we're just going to learn as we go," said Yessica Avancena, Aspire Counseling.

According to Aspire Counseling, who works as a referral counseling center with Kern High School District, says they've seen a spike in 12 to 18 year old students seeking behavioral counseling.

“That is where we see our increase, we’re almost at 100% capacity right now," said Avancena. "We have to open more slots because we’ve seen such an increase."

Both the Kern High School District and the Bakersfield City School District say they’ve put mental health resources at the forefront of distance learning plans.

“Ever since the initial closure when we had to close schools we had a team of mental health professionals in the district to provide resources to parents, students and staff regarding mental health resources," said Tim Fulenwider, Bakersifeld City School District Director of Instructional Support.

The local districts plan to provide virtual Telehealth counseling services as well as mental health information to students and parents.

“Those include Telehealth services, we also have been training all our psychologists and behavioral intervention specialists on how to provide specific support to parents and students at home by phone or zoom or correspondence such as email and things like that," said Fulenwider.

Bakersfield City School District will be holding town halls for parents to learn and interact on emotional and mental resources the district is providing.

They are also implementing a new app that will allow students and parents to report cyber-bullying.

“We also have a reporting app that will be launched that will allow parents and kids to report concerns of bullying, cyber-bullying, and suicidal ideation or someone they know that might want to hurt themselves and that is a 24/7, 365 days a year app," said Fulenwider.

Click here to see Kern High School District's Covid-19 mental health resources.

Click here to see Bakersfield City School District's Covid-19 mental health resources.