Panama City, FL –
PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Bay District School officials are working to provide more resources for the mental health and well-being of their grade 4 to 12 students, many of whom have experienced the adversity of Hurricane Michael and are now resisting the pandemic.
“With back-to-back traumatic events, it’s hard for students to come back to class and perform at their best,” said Dawn Capes, director of student wellness programs for Bay District Schools.
One of the resources that the district seeks to provide is screening that will assess the emotional and social well-being of students.
In an effort to provide this, the school system sent a written form home to parents asking for permission.
Screening will be online and students will answer confidential questions about their mental health, the goal being to identify students who may be suffering in silence.
“Some students, they kind of internalize that into themselves, so we want to find these students and identify who needs help and how can we help them,” Capes said.
Capes said he piloted the program at Lucille Moore Elementary School and the results have been positive.
“What told me about one of our pilot projects in one of our schools was that there was one student who responded to the survey, he was a calm student who was very docile in class with good grades, and that revealed there was a need for support there, ”Capes said.
The second part of the form requests permission to provide both social and emotional support to students whose projections show they may benefit.
“Once we have identified the students, we can start working with our professionals in the schools and each school has a group of professionals who can provide immediate support to the student,” Capes said.
The third part of the consent form requests consent for Medicaid reimbursement if it may be necessary to address a student’s needs.
Capes said the school district started sending out consent forms yesterday and hoped to get them back before Thanksgiving Break because she’s hoping the school district will start screening students after Thanksgiving Break.