MPS allows students to work with a therapist without leaving school
MINNEAPOLIS -- There are cries for help like never before from Minnesota's youth, as 29% of students say they've experienced depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles for six months or more. That's more than ever before recorded by the state.
This week, we are exploring solutions across our community. WCCO's Jonah Kaplan reports on a major shift in how students can work with a therapist without leaving school.
If a gym teacher works on physical education, why not hire a mental health teacher too?
Kim Masters works full-time at Lyndale Community School, but she's not a teacher. She's a full-time school-based therapist, and for the first time, every Minneapolis public school has at least one licensed counselor like her who offers in-school care.
"It's here, mental health exists. It's impacting our kids to a degree that we need this embedded in schools," Masters said. "The stressors these kids are facing, many of them are things adults have not faced in their entire lifetime."
How these relationships start -- it could be the student, it could be teachers or a parent. It all varies, as do the different behaviors exhibited by the student.
But according to the teachers and clinicians WCCO spoke with, there are some common threads, including something maybe unique to Minnesota and how welcoming we are.
Just because a student has maybe come here seeking a better life, that doesn't make it an easy life.
Teachers WCCO spoke with told us many kids bear the weight of generational trauma and many others still affected by COVID.
"It's like that idea of an iceberg. You see a child's behavior and there's a gigantic iceberg below it. We have no idea the other things they're dealing with," Jessica Sanow, a third-grade teacher, said.
But instead of parents having to find a therapist on their own, not to mention find the time and money, MPS schools are a one-stop shop -- just ask Farhiya Del.
"I don't even know how to describe how it feels to have your child actually succeed when they were not succeeding before," said Del, a proud parent. "They know they've been loved, they're cared."
Therapy sessions are generally covered by a family's health insurance. If they don't have insurance or can't afford the co-pay, the school district provides grants.
Help is available 24 hours a day by calling 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Click here for other youth mental health resources.
for more features.