MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - Madison City Schools is joining a growing list of school systems around North Alabama and the state adding a mental health coordinator to its staff.
Stephanie Allen will be the first mental health coordinator in the district’s history. She’ll be in charge of coordinating resources and information on mental health across the school district.
“Our teachers and administrators and school staff are the first line in our school system,” she said. “And they, knowing the kids, recognize things and we have been able to do some training with our staffs to help them as they recognize and even open that up to parents.”
Allen won’t work as a typical counselor, instead she’ll work with teachers, administrators and parents to get needed mental health resources to students.
She said the most important thing to be done is starting more conversations surrounding mental health.
David West, the Safety and Security Coordinator with Madison City Schools, agreed.
“It’s important to have conversations with those students and we encourage parents to have conversations with their children and talk about what’s bothering them,” West said.
He said the isolation and anxiety from the pandemic has created even more mental health issues among students than before.
“Its made a lot of students very isolated, we’re going between hybrid, face-to-face, full virtual and I think there is a lot of anxiety there,” he said.
Allen said if there are any Madison City Schools parents out there looking for help or wondering how to start a mental health conversation with their student, they can reach out to teachers, counselors, administrators or her for help within the Madison City School system.