As we go into the new school year, Citrus County students will see more of an emphasis on mental health.
- School leaders want to make sure students have help they need
- 4 more social workers hired, along with more psychologists
- Other school districts adding staff as well to help with mental health
The district has hired more school psychologists and social workers to help students this year. They also plan to give a mental health screening to every student.
"Some have some areas that maybe they need assistance with and we're not aware of that," Kit Humbaugh, Citrus County Director of Student Services, said.
And this year, Citrus County school leaders say they want to make sure every student who needs help is getting the assistance they need.
That's why they've used money from SB 7026 to hire four more social workers bringing their total to 11, two more school psychologists now with 12 altogether, and a student services specialist.
"We're talking about a complete problem solving team at the schools that can come together see what interventions we need to be making on the student progress monitoring are they making some changes are they making some improvement," Humbaugh said.
Also new this year, the district will be giving each student from pre-K to 12th grade a universal behavioral screener this fall to make sure they know which students need help.
"There's just so many factors that go into students needing assistance with becoming more mentally healthy, whether it's low socioeconomics whether they've been exposed to trauma domestic violence death in the family," Humbaugh explained.
Parents will have the ability to have their child opt out of that universal screening.
Spectrum Bay News 9 reached out to see if other counties were also adding more school psychologists and social workers.
Hillsborough, Pasco, and Polk counties told us they're also hiring more staff to address mental health in their districts.
However, Pinellas County Scholls told Spectrum Bay News 9 that it will hire 10 additional psychologists, six additional social workers and it is still determining the number of counselors needed.