PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Mental health is an issue that is being dealt with nationwide. It is also an issue within Bay District Schools. The district is doing everything it can to help, but they need more resources.
Bay District School officials said they are seeing a crisis among students with mental health issues.
“Mental health is at an all-time high,” school safety coordinator Vernon Barth said.
Between the isolation from the pandemic and the hardships of Hurricane Michael, local students have had to deal with lots of issues. Meanwhile, there are not enough resources to combat the problem.
School officials said even when a student is sent to a mental health facility, they sometimes are turned away because the place does not have enough beds or people.
“We don’t have enough facilities and enough people in the mental health profession to be able to help with the vast need of it,” Barth said. “Some of these students need more than what these schools can offer and what some of the local areas can offer”
While they do not have the help they need, district officials said they are working to solve the issue.
“We are trying very very hard to train all of our staff, we’re trying to make sure that we can support them the best we can,” Barth said.
Students can suffer when they do not receive the proper counseling.
“A lot of students that are not equipped emotionally to be able handling trying in tough situations and so they lash out verbally or physically,” Barth explained.
While students may be suffering, Arnold Principal Britt Smith and Barth said parents and guardians need to get involved.
“Whenever parents have a chance to learn more about what’s happening within those services or how that’s going to help their child, they begin to open up because they also want the very best child,” Smith said.
When they are contacted about their child needing mental health evaluations or help, they want parents and guardians to understand they can make a difference.