Utilizing Available Mental Health Services At Your Child's School
Children have a vivid emotional life just as adults do, but they lack the life experience that adults can draw from to help them cope with stressful situations. Kids also deal with unique stressors like bullying, needing to fit in with their peers and going through puberty. These issues can be challenging to handle as a parent; fortunately, a variety of resources are available at your child’s school to help you and your child cope with difficult situations.
- Your child’s teacher. Teachers have a lot of experience with identifying signs of emotional stress in kids and can be a great resource for simple ways to start conversations with your child about touchy subjects. He or she is on the front lines every day with your child. If your child has a known emotional or developmental issue, be sure to notify his or her teacher before the school year starts.
- The school guidance counselor. Your school counselor can help your child talk through difficult subjects, particularly things that your child may feel awkward discussing with you. Guidance counselors have been trained to help your child navigate challenging issues like illness, loss of a loved one and relationships. Some schools have more than one guidance counselor, which gives your child the opportunity to pick the counselor who is the best fit for him or her. Guidance counselors can also be a great hub for other resources, like family therapists.
- School nurses. The school nurse has experience in assessing the physical and mental health of students. Your child’s school nurse can be especially helpful in identifying symptoms like frequent headaches or an upset stomach that have roots in emotional issues, anxiety, or stress.
Check with your child’s school to see what other resources are available. Some schools may have a psychologist or social worker on staff who can provide additional help and support. The school may also have a list of outside resources that you can review to help you find the right person to help you and your child cope with specific challenges.