This past school year, we faced unique challenges with students in schools across the country, some of them not related to academics. We all became more aware of just how important counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals are to the full health and well being of young people.

Parents for Public Schools of Pitt County offered information several times this past year about how to connect with those who could help students needing assistance with a variety of social and emotional issues. Pitt County Schools partners with community mental health agencies to provide clinical counseling to students when they are in need.  But now the school year has ended, and summer is upon us. We talked with school social worker, Kim Anderson, to learn more about what resources are available to students over the summer, should they need support to remain healthy in every way.

PPS-PC: If students have a need to connect with a counselor or other mental health professional over the summer, what are their options with Pitt County Schools?

KA: PCS is offering summer school this summer. School Based Mental Health Services will be offered by PRIDE and IFS for students that are present in schools.  Students can contact their school directly and speak with the Counselor or School Social Worker if help is needed to access those resources.

PPS-PC: As families are away from Pitt County Schools over the summer, what local community organizations would you suggest they connect with if they determine a need for mental health services for their child?

KA: Trillium Health Resources is our local managed care organization that helps families with mental health, intellectual/developmental, and substance use issues access the services they need. I would start there if a family is not already connected to a provider (Trillium Health Resource-  Access Care Line 1-877-685-2415) Other resources such as Real Crisis (252) 758-4357 and Mobile Crisis 1-866-437-1821 are available to offer emergency related needs that do not require 911.

PPS-PC: If a mental health emergency were to occur over the summer, what are the best options for a parent to receive immediate assistance for their child?

KA: If a family member poses a danger to themselves or others, you should call 911.  For non life threatening emergencies, Mobile Crisis can be called at 1-866-437-1821.  With caregiver consent (for minors), Mobile Crisis can be dispatched to your location for support. Real Crisis (252) 758-4357 is another great local resource if you need to talk to someone.

PPS-PC: What are some things parents can do to support students who are pursuing mental health options as a path to being their healthiest selves?

KA: Remember that stress responses are normal reactions to tough situations.  Listen to your student when they express emotions and concerns.   Talk openly and avoid shaming your children about their experiences and feelings.  Be supportive and reach out when you need help.  Find times during your day to relax and express gratitude for the good!  There is good out there!