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U.S. San Francisco mayor announces expanded mental health support for students amid COVID-19
From:Xinhua  |  2021-01-30 05:02

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SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday announced the city is providing new mental health resources for San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) students and their families who need behavioral health crisis support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is expanding the Mobile Response Team (MRT), which provides personalized mental health and wellness services for children and youth who are referred to the program, including in-person interventions during the pandemic.

The expansion of the Mobile Response Team bolsters the School District's ongoing efforts to help students cope with complex issues such as stress, trauma, suicide, bullying, depression, self-esteem, drug and alcohol use, sexual health, and relationships, the announcement said.

"For all of us, this has been a hard year on our mental health. But for young people who were already dealing with a lot of stress and mental health challenges before the pandemic, this year has been especially challenging," said Breed. "Students have been without the support systems that they normally get at school, and while there have been mental health resources available online, we know that some situations require an in-person response."

Due to COVID-19, many SFUSD students have been unable to access in-person counseling and behavioral health services that are normally available at school. Since schools shifted to distance learning in March, the School District has transitioned many services to virtual formats, including social worker office hours and online meetings.

"Even with innovative distance learning measures in place, the COVID-19 school closures have had an undeniably adverse impact on K-12 learning and student well-being, especially among low-income students and students of color who are experiencing increased rates of anxiety, depression, and other serious health conditions," said City Supervisor Hillary Ronen.

SFUSD has made 118,000 wellness check calls since last spring. Of those families reached 77 percent of families shared they were doing "pretty good" or "great," but about one in four families were not, according to the announcement. Enditem