SOUTHERN COLORADO — Returning to school can come with mixed emotions for students--especially for people who are processing the death of a loved one from the pandemic. As a result, school districts are investing in new resources to help grieving students cope with the pandemic.
Grief happens can manifest itself in different ways. The loss of a loved one is possibly life's most stressful event and can cause a major emotional crisis. In the United States, more than 150,000 children are estimated to have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. Districts are now using federal relief dollars to hire more counselors and school psychologists.
Locally, D11 partners with Diversus Health and Thriveworks, two behavioral health treatment facilities, to offer students and staff support. Pueblo District 60 has really taken a hands-on approach by offering individual and group therapy to students through its Pueblo Pro Bono mental health program. Per the district's website, the program partners with counseling services and has performed more than 2,000 "youth contacts" at four middle schools, 675 individual sessions, 505 group sessions, and 875 mentoring sessions.
D49 also has a grief and loss support packet on its website to help guide students and parents through this process and point them to the right resources. Harrison School District 2 has a resiliency program called "GRIT" which is a free, online training to help promote emotional resiliency. Also. Academy District 20 has a team of trained staff--including mental health professionals, School Resource Officers (SROs), district security, and administrators who provide crisis intervention support for students, families, and staff.
For more grief counseling resources, click here.
If you're a school district looking for support, click here.