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Blount County, TN: Schools focus on kids at risk for self-harm/suicide; numbers "rising"

Feb 9, 2019, Knoxville, TN, Knox News Sentinel: Three Blount County elementary students on suicide watch; schools pay special attention to mental health needs https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/education/2019/02/08/blount-three-elementary-students-suicide-watch-forms-mental-health-group/2811099002/ With a rising number of mental health concerns for their students, including three elementary school students on suicide watch at one Blount County elementary school, the district is paying special attention to the mental health of their students. The Blount County Schools district has formed a mental health task force, aimed at addressing the increasing mental health concerns of students. "We formed the mental health task force because of the intensity and increasing frequency of the mental health needs of our students," said Mary Beth Blevins, coordinated school health coordinator for Blount County Schools. … Blevins said school-based therapy is currently offered for students in every grade and has been offered since 2011. With parent or guardian permission, the student can begin seeing a therapist or counselor, "regardless of their ability to pay," from Cherokee Mental Health Services, Blevins said. … There are 26 school counselors, 7 psychologist and 5 therapists from Cherokee Mental Health Services for Blount County Schools, said Marla Holbert, communications director for Blount County Schools, said. There are nearly 11,000 students in Blount County Schools, Holbert added. …