Abbott allocates funds for mental health resources in schools

Victoria Crosley and her two sons spent Thursday at the La Palmera mall, going from store to store while her children left for summer vacation.

But in Crosley’s mind, one of his son’s mental health issues; especially when he returns to school.

He is about to enter a new chapter in his life: high school.

“He was bullied and I didn’t feel like he got enough out of his school,” Crosley said of his son’s college experience.

Crosley felt like her son’s school hadn’t done everything they could to help her son overcome bullying.

She had to send him to a counselor and a psychiatrist to deal with his mental health.

“He didn’t want to go to school. He was not doing well, his grades were going down,” she said.

Crosley said there weren’t enough mental health resources to deal with anxiety, depression and bullying at her son’s school.

“I think they need more counselors in the schools. This needs to be settled. It needs to be talked about,” Crosley said.

Governor Greg Abbott is allocating $5.8 million to expand the Texas Child Health Access Through Telemedicine program to schools across the state.

The program offers mental health and psychiatric medicine assessments to students.

Dr. Ryan Smith, a psychiatrist at Corpus Christi, said after the tragedies, it’s important for them to educate students about mental health.

He said cognitive behavioral therapy helps students overcome anxiety and depression by teaching them coping skills and gradually exposing them to their trauma.

“Normalizing reactions to trauma and just for mental health in general is very helpful,” Smith said.

Nancy Vera, president of the Corpus Christi chapter of the American Federation of Teachers, said there was a lack of mental health resources for students at Coastal Bend.

She said Abbott’s program should be offered both virtually and in person.

She said students could live in poverty or face abusive parents and it could affect their mental health at school.

Without an adequate amount of mental health resources, she said they cannot succeed in school.

“The purpose of education is to enable our children to move better, to enter, to weave their lives in society so that they can succeed,” Vera said.