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Waseca Public Schools focus on training, educating about mental health

Waseca middle and senior high school
Waseca middle and senior high school(KEYC)
Published: Mar. 28, 2022 at 11:42 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 28, 2022 at 11:44 PM CDT
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WASECA, Minn. (KEYC) - Burnout and mental health strain have become one of the leading stories surrounding schooling and the pandemic, from administrators and staff to the students.

“There is a lot of things that students go through that I never realized when I was in high school,” Waseca Junior and Senior High School Counselor Christine Meeks said.

Waseca Public Schools is getting over $9,500 from Statewide Health Improvement Partnership to put toward mental health support for the district. The money will be used for training programs for approximately 150 licensed staff and 60 paraprofessionals affecting 1,800 students.

“All of us have been struggling and we need resources and help to cope,” Le Sueur - Waseca Community Health Coordinator Ashley Killday said.

Educators say they’ve seen students struggle with social skills due to being online and behaviors in the classroom which she attributes to a lack of routine.

“They’re teenagers, they have to learn those skills and they always will but seeing that improvement over the year is what brings hope,” Waseca Junior and Senior High School Principal Dr. Jason Miller said.

This training addresses burnout educators have been experiencing. It’s something experts say has grown into a public health crisis.

“It can be overwhelming, so the American School Counselors Association suggests a one to 250 ratio of counselors to students and at our school, we have two counselors for about 900-ish students,” Meeks said.

The first training took place Feb. 28 with the next scheduled for April 1, with plans to continue training in the summer to address the well-being of their educators and develop a systematic approach for “ensuring and supporting mental well-being for our staff and students.”

“The support staff should be the focal point for any school district, for any principal,” Miller said.

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