ALBANY, NY (NEWS 10) — The CDC explains that negative early life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse, can put those who experience them at risk for mental illness. Fulton County Schools along with Schenectady City Schools are focusing on the mental health of their children by providing supportive opportunities where students can feel comfortable going.
Family Counseling Center highlighted the Fulton County School Mobile Crisis Unit which allows students to express moments of extreme crisis. This can vary from suicidal thoughts to aggressive behavior that puts either a child or others at risk. The agency’s Mobile Crisis Counselor, Jamal Vazquez, works with these children every day to try to de-escalate situations. Vazquez tries to get the student into a safe mental space to transport them to the services they need. In post-crisis check-ups, Vazquez comments, “I find out how the child is doing, if there’s been any changes, things like that,” “I go over grounding techniques and coping skills during the crisis and when I do my follow-up. -above, we discuss whether they applied any of those techniques when they were feeling in crisis or angry to find out what worked and what didn’t.”
Vazquez approaches those in crisis as people, not just children. He comments: “My role goes deeper than making sure the child is safe. If a child is having a crisis, they need someone to talk to them as a person and not a child.” Vazquez reports that he has seen an increase in cases of crises with children as young as four or five. He explains that the you see mostly younger children going through a time when they are trying to understand their emotions.
In Schenectady City Schools, they have partnered with him tbh, a platform that helps students’ mental health. Through tbh students have access to virtual mental health counseling that is designed for students and led by a real therapist. Both school districts are taking steps to combat the stigma surrounding mental health.
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