Search

Williamsport, PA: Distress/mental health issues "now common in schools"-even kindergarten

Dec 10, 2017, Williamsport (PA) Sun-Gazette: Mental health care begins at elementary school level http://www.sungazette.com/news/top-news/2017/12/mental-health-care-begins-at-elementary-school-level/ “Student mental health isn’t just a high school or middle school issue. It’s a K-12 issue,” said Dr. Richard Poole, Williamsport Area School District director of student services. “The district, over the last five to 10 years has taken many steps and resources to help students that are in distress or have mental health issues.” He said at the elementary level, there are guidance counselors in every building and three social workers. They do a “second-step program” with the younger students. … Bullying is also a topic of lessons, helping students recognize bad behavior and how to cope in those situations. … The mindset that even elementary students need help to relieve stress, recognize problems and cope with emotional issues is now common in schools. “We come from a preventative effort, and I think it starts at the younger ages,” said Emily Wagner, South Williamsport Area School District counselor. Loyalsock Township School District has a therapy dog to help young student. “Rudy, Donald E. Schick Elementary’s therapy dog, has provided many different opportunities for students and staff members to benefit from his calming effects while reducing their stress levels. The benefits of having a therapy dog on site include physical, social, cognitive, emotional and mental health benefits,” said Gerald L. McLaughlin, Loyalsock Township School District superintendent. … Peltier said she often helps elementary children with life experiences that make it difficult for them to function in school. …