City of Birmingham approves funding for more counselors and mental health services in schools

Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 10:53 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) -With the pandemic taking a toll on kids physically and mentally, the city of Birmingham is working to help students in the school system.

Over the past 18 months, the school system has seen tremendous challenges with students and their families around COVID-19. Since the start of the pandemic, eight Birmingham city school employees and one Jackson Olin student have died from COVID.

“That cannot help but to impact the way instruction happens in the classroom and how students deal and socialize every day,” Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan with Birmingham City Schools said.

Sullivan says the district is seeing a lot of depression and anxiety among students. That’s why he and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin believe more mental health services are needed now more than ever. Tuesday, city council approved spending up to a million dollars to create a mental health services program which adds more school-based licensed counselors for K-12 students.

“Not only is academic achievement important but making sure health services, mental health services are given to our children to make sure they stand the best chance to actually be successful in and out of the classroom,” Mayor Woodfin said.

The school district is hoping to reach as many students as possible because they know the need for mental health services is great.

“Because we recognize the importance and ensuring their whole child is being taught. Kids can’t learn how to read and write if they have underlying health issues whether that’s physical or mental,” Sullivan said.

The school district is adding a mental health coordinator to offer additional support for students. The system is also using CAREs act money to help with those services as well.

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