WCPSS tackles ways to improve children's mental health

CARY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County School District is tackling mental health concerns, and working to put together its plan to help students and staff.

Counties are required by law to do the work and some parents say the effort is long overdue.

"They need as much as they can get early on," said Cary resident Michelle Parrish. "Kids struggle, they need to feel safe. They need a great environment and the person who spends the most time with them outside their parents in the school system."

One of the ideas discussed at the Wake County School Board meeting is implementing a social and emotional learning curriculum for K-8 schools.

"This is a high priority," said board member Christine Kushner.

The district is also trying to increase accessibility to services.

Leaders will be continuously working on the plan and making adjustments.

Cary parent Julie Nolan said her two high school students didn't love being stuck at home for virtual learning. They're back in a classroom and it's making a big difference.

"They seem much happier with that kind of a situation," said Nolan.

A North Carolina official is playing a role in the national conversation.

Director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services Deepa Avula from the NC Department of Health and Human Services will testify Wednesday at 10 a.m. at the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means during the "America's Mental Health Crisis" hearing.
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