Lakeside School District hires mental health professionals to help students


HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – The pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of students, with more and more children struggling with anxiety and depression. As school districts look for ways to help, the Lakeside School District in Hot Springs makes social and emotional support a top priority.

Classroom to Cafeteria Mental health professional Kalayah Anderson walks the halls of Lakeside Junior High to monitor students and offer support.

“We see a lot of anxiety, an increase in depression and kids really feel lost a lot of times,” Anderson said.

District Special Services Administrator Courtney Eubanks said Anderson was one of three mental health professionals hired by the district after a few difficult years.

“Our mental health is as important as our physical health. They see them as they see their teachers, their school counselors, their administrators. They are just part of our team, ”said Eubanks.

Covering everything from classes to quarantines, Anderson strives to normalize students by talking about the difficulties they face on a daily basis.

“There’s always this mystique around mental health and so here they’re like it’s as normal as going to the nurse or going to the school counselor or talking to my teachers or my coach, ”Anderson said.

She said having another listening ear on campus makes all the difference.

“Having someone to talk to, I think, has been really good for them,” Anderson said.

Each mental health professional is assigned to a certain building. That way, they can continue to build relationships with the same students over the years.

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