‘Mental Health Matters’: Madison City Schools hosts mental health fair for students

Madison City Schools hosts Mental Health Fair for students
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 10:29 PM CDT
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MADISON CO., Ala. (WAFF) - Madison City Schools leaders put together a mental health resource fair on Monday to show parents and students how much mental health matters.

Lindsey Doolittle, who has two children in MCS, decided to bring them to the district-wide fair so that they are more aware of their mental health.

“I feel like mental health is a very big deal especially with her coming up to her preteen ages to learn about herself and emotions,” Doolittle said.

District Mental Health Services Coordinator Stephanie Allen said she’s seen a gradual increase over the last decade of mental health concerns in students.

“Coping with anxiety and just regulating emotions and just knowing what to do when you experience those big feelings as a kid as a teenager or even as a grown-up,” said Allen.

According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5 children, before the pandemic, had a mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.

Doolittle said she knows firsthand about its effects.

“My children’s mental health hasn’t gotten worse after the pandemic,” said Doolittle. “I’ve just noticed as they’re aging that they’re exploring their emotions. I know during the pandemic being at home and being remote they were really isolated from their friends, and got bored with things. It is really nice to get back out there and have some normalization in school.”

The district now has a facility dog, Barney, to keep students at Madison Elementary at ease while on campus.

Madison Elementary School Counselor Stephanie Cook said she’s noticed a change in students being able to display empathy and compassion just from Barney’s presence

“Barney is trained to detect adrenaline cortisol in changes in a child,” Cook said. “So if he sees that chemical change he will point out a kid to let an adult know hey this child is in distress.”

For more resources that the district has to offer students click here.