Community must make difference for students | Journal-news

When Sens. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced earlier this week that more than $5.7 million in U.S. Department of Education funding was coming to West Virginia to support school-based mental health services, it was good news, indeed.

Our schools are asked to do far more than teachers and administrators were asked several years ago. And as mental health challenges have only increased for students, it is important schools have the resources they need to help address that, too.

“Safe and healthy learning environments are essential for our youth in West Virginia as they grow and progress through their educational journey,” Capito said. “I know how important this is to our children and their families, which is why I voted in favor of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act in the Senate. I will always stand up for our children in West Virginia, and make sure resources are available to provide the support they need to be successful.”

Wonderful. But resources mean nothing without improvement on two fronts. First, we owe it to our children to be doing everything we can to address the economic and socio-cultural woes that continue to contribute to their mental health struggles. And second, we must erase the stigma associated with taking care of our mental health — for all of us.

Every last one of us must be on board in turning around the backward and damaging attitude too many have toward mental health. A school counselor or nurse cannot be on an island trying to help kids while surrounded by adults who are at best ignoring the problem and at worst contributing to it.

Bravo, to those who continue to work to get schools the resources they need to support our kids’ mental health. Now it’s up to the rest of us to make sure those resources are able to make a difference.

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