Back to School: Expectations for students and mental health resources

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Friday, August 5, 2022 1:57PM
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Fresno Unified is hiring new social workers and expanding their mental health support and counseling. Clovis Unified is also expanding its resources.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kimberly Mccoy is a proud Fresno Unified parent glad to see her son back in the classroom.

"You're happy to see the kids going back to school, being with their peers, but there's also that fear because we really don't know," she said.

Her son, Norwood Mccoy III, is a rising 5th grader at Centennial Elementary, and the transition back to in-person learning wasn't all easy.

"It was a little scary having him go back into the 4th grade and just wondering if he would catch on," Kimberly said. "We did a lot of work at home just to make sure he's up to par."

Adjusting to the classroom - academically, socially and emotionally.

Norwood isn't the only student adapting to the new normal. Staff we spoke with says more students are reaching out for help.

"The need has increased drastically since we returned back to school," says FUSD Social Emotional Manager Tumani Heights. "I would say the major things we've noticed are increased anxiety, depression, regression of coping."

Fresno Unified is hiring new social workers and expanding their mental health support and counseling.

They're telling parents to be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary and to reach out if their student needs help.

"If you notice your child is isolating themselves, a decrease in their normal behavior like eating patterns, sleeping patterns as well as hygiene," Tumani said.

Clovis Unified is also expanding its resources.

"We have our peer counseling program, we have our mental health support providers, we have the CSI program," says Clovis Unified Psychologist David Weber.

They're also encouraging parents to talk to students about how they're handling the changes

"When you're driving in the car, when you're making dinner, just bring those things up," Weber said. "It's just critical that those subjects are brought up."

As for Norwood, he's eager to be back in the classroom this school year and pick up right where he left off.