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

Published: May. 26, 2022 at 11:09 PM PDT
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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 continue to flood social media.

“A lot of staff were very concerned, hurt, afraid, really reflecting,” said Katherine Loudon, counseling coordinator at Washoe County School District. “There are parents who have also reached out and even some of them have asked schools questions or asked ways to connect and support one another. There were classrooms where students were asking questions.”

Loudon says the first step in helping students during a crisis is to create a strong mental health foundation before tragic events happen.

“Teaching students about things like self-management and regulation, building relationships, conflict resolution and those types of things that are helping our students build that foundation of when to get help and what to do,” said Loudon. “We’re also working with teachers on how to build relationships with their students, something that they often know so well is how to do that.”

She adds that teachers were not instructed to have a conversation about the shooting in every classroom. However, the schools do provide the space for students to talk about it if they wanted to.

“We would reassure them of the safety things we did have in place in our district and then we would empower them with tools, resources, with ways that they can refer and connect with them,” said Loudon.

WCSD has a mental health team on every campus and most include a social worker. Loudon says it’s not just to help students.

“Supports in place at a district level for teachers and staff is essential,” said Loudon. “It is often the teacher who comes forward with concern about a student, wanting the student to have help. They’re connecting with families, they are very much mental health partners.”

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

Death Grief Loss 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 report safety concerns or threats anonymously.

Teens in need of non-crisis support can confidentially use the free Nevada Text Line to connect with peers and support each other through challenges. The program allows parents and other concerned loved ones to prompt an initial text to their teens by sending a request to NVtextline@gmail.com. To use the service text (775) 296-8336 from noon to 10:00 p.m.

NTL and the Crisis Support Services of Nevada are available even throughout summer. 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 series of different things that are available, including ways for parents to interact with them to receive support and we have those resources available to our families,” said Loudon.

WCSD wants to encourage parents to contact them if they have any concerns about their children.

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