Huntsville cyber school uses new program to help combat anxiety among students

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Mental and emotional health have always been at the forefront of education, but during these challenging times, it’s especially vital.

Whether your child is taking virtual or in-person classes, COVID has affected their experience in some way.

At the Alabama Cyber School of Technology and Engineering, teachers and staff are using a unique virtual training tool to help combat anxiety before it escalates.

“We are taking a little bit of a different approach to counseling and mental health,” Blair said. “We are trying to train our kids to improve their emotional IQ and we are also doing that for staff so they feel prepared to handle some of these mental health concerns that come up.”

The virtual training program is called Kognito.

Not only does it help teachers and staff become more familiar with signs and symptoms of mental distress, but it also teaches them how to approach and talk about difficult situations with students.

The pandemic being one of those difficult situations.

Blair recognizes that there are students who may not be in schools with great access to counseling, but she says there are ways to mitigate anxiety during this time.

For example, increasing emotional intelligence is key. This means being aware of your emotions and understanding how to express them.

Blair also says parents can help their children by giving them information about the pandemic so that they feel more in control of the situation.

“With anxiety a lot of times it’s about giving the kids information so that they feel more in control of the situation but it’s also helping them get proactive…So again I think it’s really taking a step back, looking at the facts of the situation, educating kids and helping them understand that these are small things we can do to help protect the larger population,” Blair said.

Blair says the cyber school also hopes to roll out a Friend to Friend peer training program.

The goal of that is to help students identify anxiety in each other.

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