Bay District Schools sets mental health plan

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - With the new school year fast approaching, Bay District Schools is preparing for the mental health crisis plaguing our students.

Bay District Schools has a mental health plan for the upcoming school year but hopes to get money for a long-term plan. (Bay District Schools)

Immediately following Hurricane Michael, resources rushed to the area to help local students, but now, many of those resources are gone, and students are left with the trauma from the storm.

Cheri Wroblewski, the new Mental Health Coordinator for Bay District Schools, said, "We're just trying to make sure that we hit all of the things that we've been warned about in previous disasters."

Bay District officials have come up with a long-term plan, but need the money to pay for it.

"The goal would be to have the $30 million plan, which would put mental health professionals in every single one of our schools for three years, it would provide a person every day, all day, at each one of those schools to provide the services directly to kids," said Wroblewski.

Right now, they're focusing on what they can accomplish with the money they have.

"The mental health allocation budget does allow for us to add a few additional people to our team, but with 38 schools across the district, there's no way to put a person in a school every single day," said Wroblewski.

Their plan for the upcoming school year is to train all district employees to know what to do if a student shows signs of distress.

"We've trained close to 600 [people] with probably about another 500 before school even starts next year. And we're not just targeting the teachers, it's the bus drivers, and the bus paras, and the maintenance facility workers, and the front desk clerks, to ensure that everybody has a basic understanding of what trauma looks like," said Wroblewski.

While Bay District Schools officials do have a long-term plan, they say they know it won't be enough to cover all of the mental health issues we'll continue to face.

"We're applying for anything we can get our hands on, we'll talk to anybody who will listen to us, and we're taking all of the support that we possibly can but we know that it's not gonna be enough to meet every need in the community," said Wroblewski.

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