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Spokane Public Schools hires additional mental health therapists for upcoming school year

As Spokane students return to the classroom, they will have more help than ever before to help them cope with the stresses of school during COVID-19.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Spokane Public School is hiring additional therapists, counselors, and intervention teacher for the upcoming school year. The district said this is a direct response to the severe challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"What we were finding with COVID is the adolescents are really struggling because of that social isolation," Dr. David Crump, SPS Director of Mental Health Services, said. "That's where we're seeing more suicidal thought talk, anxiety, depression."

Spokane Public Schools is the only school district in Washington state licensed as a mental health agency. That means SPS is able to provide mental health services in schools.

"We have a unique privilege in our district, to be able to have those mental health therapists that are licensed mental health therapist, to be able to help some of those more severe needs," Dr. Crump said.

The district is hiring addition therapists and counselors with funding it received from the federal government. Dr. Crump said this will benefit students by providing more access to these resources.

"We can be able to reach more kids and families," Crump said. "If we can help the child, siblings, and families--that's our goal."

These resources will be spread throughout the district. But Dr. Crump said there is going to be a push for early intervention among younger students.

"The district is really putting an emphasis on saying, 'how do we really help the younger students with literacy, with mathematics, so that when they reach the higher grades, they're not saying I can't do this, I'm going to act out'," Crump said. "And so, there will be a big push for the early intervention."

As students return to school this week, Dr. Crump hopes parents will see these efforts as the district forming a strong partnership with them.

"It's to say we're here together," he said.