PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — With local mental health problems on the rise, Bay District Schools has been combating the issue head-on.
This means there is a need for mental health-related staff members on campuses across the district.
As of December 1st, a new mental health mandate is being implemented at each school in the district.
“Including mental and emotional health awareness education, substance use and abuse prevention education, and child trafficking awareness education,” said BDS Student Serviced Director, Kara Mulkusky.
All secondary students are required to have 5 hours of this curriculum. Middle school students will be learning the material on their chrome books. For high school students, the Freedom 180 Team that is part of the Health Department will be teaching that curriculum.
“Its face to face time, its group environment, group settings,” said Health Department Administrator, Sandon Speedling.
As part of a federal disaster funding grant that was applied for after the storm, the district is just now receiving the funding. Part of that grant money is going towards new mental health job positions.
“We are creating a director of student wellness programs job. The purpose of this job is to oversee all of our programs that involve student wellness-that includes mental health,” said Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Denise Kelley.
This position will oversee mental health counselors and social workers in schools, as there are two clinicians per school.
The positions will be available for job seekers beginning in February. Once the positions are filled, the district plans to begin very intensive mental health training.