Over the last six months, the stresses experienced by our students, staff and families have continued to intensify at an unprecedented rate.
In addition to the pandemic, which disrupted school attendance, social connections, employment and — at a very basic level — the very way we navigate public spaces, our country is also experiencing deep political divisions and civil unrest. At a local level, this month we are also experiencing wildfires and smoky air. In light of these stresses and the anxiety they can create in children and adults, Alameda Unified School District officials want to make sure our community knows about the mental health supports we have in place. I’ll list some of them below.
COVID-19 mental health resources: The AUSD webpage www.alamedaunified.org/covidmentalhealth has links to numerous support services, including Care Solace. This live 24-7 resource helps AUSD students and families find area mental health-related programs and counseling services. Families can access Care Solace services via phone, email or the webpage, and the organization’s staff then help them find services that work with their insurance (or lack thereof). The Mental Health Resources webpage also has links to articles that can help families support their children during these difficult times.
Family learning conference: As part of our reopening support last month, the AUSD held a family learning conference that included sessions on using educational technology platforms as well as presentations on supporting students emotionally and socially. You can find links to recordings of those presentations at sites.google.com/alamedaunified.org/familylearningconference/home.
Suicide prevention: The AUSD webpage www.alamedaunified.org/suicideprevention has direct links to hotlines and websites for people who are feeling suicidal, as well as resources for learning how to recognize suicidal symptoms and get help to people exhibiting them.
School-based health centers: Staff at Encinal and Alameda high schools will provide tele-therapy support while schools are still in distance learning.
Hotline support: Students, staff, families and other community members in crisis should also know that, 24 hours a day, they can call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273- 8255 and Crisis Support Services of Alameda County at 800-273-8255. In addition, the California Parent & Youth Helpline at 855-427-2736 is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
We’d also like to let our community know that the USDA is extending its free meal program (the same one AUSD uses for its summer meal offerings) through Dec. 31. That means anyone up to age 18 (not just AUSD students) can pick up meals at our distribution sites (no identification is needed) and parents or guardians can pick up meals without a child present. For the latest updates, please see our Food and Nutrition Services webpage at www.alamedaunified.org/foodservices.
Susan Davis is the Alameda Unified School District’s senior manager for community affairs. Reach her at 510-337-7175 or [email protected].
Dan Carter was a reporter for nomad Labs, before becoming the lead editor. Dan has over forty bylines and has reported on countless stories concerning all things related to tech and science. Dan studied at CSUF.