Parents are now concerned about school fighting, teen suicides, and the national youth mental health epidemic that has resulted from the pandemic.

The Montgomery County Council responded this week by authorizing an $8 million special appropriation to fund wellness centers and other resources in each of the county’s high schools.

There are over 20 high schools in Montgomery County. However, just a few school-based wellness centers are now operational, including one at Wheaton High School. A sixth wellness facility is being built, according to the county.

Wellness centers are physical locations where students can receive a variety of services like counseling and dental screening. They also host after-school youth clubs and employ case managers to help with family issues.

“It’s important to have the clinical services that we can provide in the wellness center but also the non-clinical emotional support that we can provide by having that caring adult. By having a safe space, where they can feel listened to, where they can connect with their peers, where they can engage in positive activities we are able to intervene early when we see, you know, conflicts arise between students. Those are key components of our programs.” – Carolyn Camacho, program director for non-profit Identity

Montgomery County Councilwoman Nancy Navarro spearheaded the effort that resulted in the passage of three special appropriations totaling $8 million this week.

MCPS will use the $8 million to begin hiring and preparing right now, according to Navarro. Interim Superintendent Dr. McKnight promised her that by August 2022, MCPS would be able to have a wellness center in every school.

 

About Ashton Horne

Ashton Horne is an upcoming writer who currently resides in Harford County. He currently interns for TheDMVDaily as a journalist.

View all posts by Ashton Horne