What mental health help is available for Aiken County students?

Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 6:15 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - With kids back in the classroom, all of our major school districts are telling us students’ mental health is a top priority.

In Aiken County, health officials say they’re seeing an increase in the number of kids needing care.

Aiken County says a guidance counselor is in every school to help kids facing issues.

Here are ways parents can get their kids the help they need.

Hallways flooded with students can be an overwhelming experience for some returning to school.

Karlin-Rae Cummings oversees child and family services for the Aiken-Barnwell Mental Health Center.

“It’s been a real struggle for a lot of people. Getting used to the new schedule and getting used to being around so many students. It’s been a really difficult adjustment period for everyone,” she said.

Aiken County schools are doing what they can to help their students.

“If we’re not there, it’s harder for the students to get services,” she said.

They have a mental health clinician in 17 Aiken County schools.

“It’s extremely important,” said Cummings.

Students can see a counselor who sends a referral to the clinician.

“Last year we provided services to 37 percent more than we did the previous year, so they are increasing. We’re seeing a lot more anxiety and sadness. We’re seeing more emotional regulation struggles, so kids having anger outbursts because they’re struggling, and they don’t know what to do with that,” she said.

This is for any student.

Shannon Britt, S.C. Mobile Crisis Team said: “We’re getting them early, and we’re correcting those behaviors, helping parents with coping skills and coping techniques so they won’t have those problems in middle and high school.”

They say it’s disheartening to see these levels of anxiety and depression, but the numbers show people are reaching out for help.

“To provide hope to them that there is support for them and recovery is possible,” said Britt.

If you do need help, the nationwide 988 crisis hotline number is available 24/7. You can text or call.

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