Mental health support in school continues for students in Saint Paul
An estimated 1 in 5 young people need support for their mental health, and people of color are much less likely to have access to therapy and mental health care. That's why our school-based mental health team meets students right where they are, with culturally relevant therapy, support and resources for them and their families.
When schools closed a year ago to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our students lost their meeting space – but they didn’t lose their mental health support. Like other mental health providers at Wilder, school-based teams switched to therapy by video. “We just had to find a lot of creative ways to do therapy,” says Maria Rios, a bilingual, school-based mental health provider in Sembrando, a Wilder program that supports Latinx students.
During telehealth therapy, Maria asked kids to show her a special toy or item, created scavenger hunts for students in their homes, and used crayons, paper and materials that students had on hand to support their mental wellness. She ensured that students had choices about what would work for them during a time when students lost control over so much in their lives.
One student who previously asked Maria to choose activities during in-person therapy bloomed during telehealth therapy. She joined video calls without help from her parents and chose activities herself. Her parents noticed her become more confident and assertive. “Seeing that growth and that confidence makes me feel really proud of her,” Maria says.