May 4, 2018, Chicago Tribune: Fox Valley schools increasingly on front line for kids' mental health http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/aurora-beacon-news/opinion/ct-abn-crosby-school-counselors-st-0506-story.html …So says adults — including researchers and educators who seem to unanimously agree depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are not only leading to a growing threat to adolescents, even increasing numbers of younger children are struggling more. Which is why many schools and social service agencies are wearing green ribbons and planning activities as part of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week May 7 to 13. … Because students and families have become more educated at identifying symptoms of emotional stress, “the stigma about having a counselor has dissipated over the years,” noted Waubonsie Valley High School Psychologist David Koopmann. “But that also means there is more of a need for professional levels of support in the schools.” While many counselors focus on career and academic guidance, they often become the first line of defense for students struggling socially and emotionally, and are considered part of a mental health support staff that includes school psychologists and social workers. … According to Jeremy Bell, director of student services, at a recent board meeting alone, five new social workers were added, bringing the number to 32. Also to help ease that burden, East officials applied for and received a grant that allowed the district to partner with Family Counseling Service of Aurora to provide youth mental health first aid training for educators and the community in general, to help them recognize symptoms of distress and guide them on how to respond. … More and more schools are, indeed, turning to “collaboration between outside agencies and the schools to provide a continuum of support,” which is especially important for lower-income families who can’t afford outside help, said District 204’s Koopmann.