WCSD provides mental health resources to support families and employees after a crisis

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) — Students across Washoe County made their way to and from school Thursday as updates on a shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers continued to flood social media.

“A lot of staff were very worried, hurt, scared, very thoughtful,” said Katherine Loudon, counseling coordinator for the Washoe County School District. “There are parents who have reached out as well, and some of them have even asked questions at schools or asked for ways they can connect and support each other. There were classrooms where the students asked questions.”

According to Loudon, the first step to helping students in a crisis is to build a strong mental health foundation before tragic events occur.

“Teaching students about things like self-management and regulation, relationship building, conflict resolution, and things like that that help our students build a foundation of when to get help and what to do,” Loudon said. “We also work with teachers on how to build relationships with their students, something they often know very well how to do.”

She adds that teachers weren’t instructed to have a conversation about the shooting in every classroom. However, schools give students the space to talk about it if they wish to do so.

“We would reassure them of the safety precautions that we have in place in our district, and then we would provide them with tools, resources, and opportunities to relate to and engage with,” Loudon said.

WCSD has a mental health team on each campus and most include a social worker. According to Loudon, it’s not just about helping students.

“Support for teachers and staff at the district level is essential,” Loudon said. “Often it is the teacher who is concerned about a student and wants the student to get help. They connect with families, they’re very much mental health partners.

There is also material on the district’s website in English and Spanish. Some of the resources include:

Loss of Death Mourning Resources

http://dcfs.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/dcfsnvgov/content/Home/features/WC_Resource_List.pdf

Grief groups in Reno:

https://www.griefshare.org/countries/us/states/nv/cities/reno

All WCSD schools have access to SafeVoice to anonymously report security concerns or threats.

Teens who need support outside of the crisis can confidentially use the free Nevada text line to connect with their peers and support each other through challenges. The program allows parents and other affected loved ones to send their teens a first text message by sending a request to [email protected] Use service SMS (775) 296-8336 from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m

In fact, NTL and Nevada’s Crisis Support Services are available all summer long. For CSSN, call (800) 273-8255 or text 839863.

“Many of our partners have programs in place. For example, the Children’s Cabinet has a number of different things that are available, including ways for parents to interact with them for support, and we have these resources available for our families,” Loudon said.

WCSD encourages parents to contact them if they have concerns about their children.

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