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Fayette Co. Public School District Hires More Mental Health Professionals

Posted: 3:21 PM, Jan 23, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-23 18:29:10-05

*Warning. This story mentions death by suicide involving young people.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or ideations, you can call the 24-hour Bluegrass Help Line at 1-800-928-8000 or you can call the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-8225. 

For more resources, including if you are deaf/hard of hearing, click here

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio- 1-888-628-9454. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18)– The Fayette County coroner said that in the past year, there has been a troubling spike in suicides among teens and pre-teens.

Recently, Fayette County Public Schools is taking steps to become safer, including adding metal detectors, but one big change they think is the key to help keep teens safe is more counselors.

“Adding more mental health services to the schools just ensures that our families and our students’ needs are being met,” said Shericka Smith, the Fayette County Public Schools Mental Health Coordinator.

This month alone, 28 new counselors have been hired and that change ensures that there is one counselor for every 350 students, which is a huge improvement from before.

“Our ratio, at elementary, was one to whatever that school’s enrollment was. That was one to 800 at certain schools. One to 300 at other schools,” said Fayette County Public Schools Student Support Director Doug Adams.

Officials have told LEX 18 that their goal is to hire even more counselors, with a goal of ensuring there is one counselor for every 250 students. That way, the counselors can develop closer bonds with the students and more trust.

Kids face a lot of challenges in today’s digital world, and Fayette County Public Schools is hoping to have discussions about the impact of social media on students.

“One of the things we’re going to ask the district mental health specialists to do is to have a family meeting and have a general discussion about the impact of social media on their students’ lives,” said Adams.

Again, we would like to remind everyone of the resources available to yourself and your children.

24- Hour Bluegrass Help Line: 1-800-928-8000

National Suicide Prevention Hot Line 1-800-273-8225

If you are deaf/hard of hearing, click here .

Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio- 1-888-628-9454