MACON, Ga. — Whether at school, work or home, we've all been affected in some way by the pandemic.
Bibb County elementary school counselor Ashley Paul works closely with students who benefit from their mental health resources.
"Our students have had to do a lot of transitioning from face-to-face to remote learning and back to face-to-face and it's a lot for them, and so if they're dealing with poor mental health we can see it manifest in ways - anxiety, worrying a lot," she said.
So, the Georgia Department of Education gave three counties $360,000 grants for mental health resources.
Bibb Schools' assistant superintendent of student affairs, Jamie Cassady, explains how they're using the money.
"We're going to hire a project manager. We're going to hire mental health clinicians and then it'll be used for training and supplies," he said.
Cassady says the money will help teach students about mental health, identify symptoms, and train their staff to help students in all grades.
"Whether it be abuse, neglect, poverty, homelessness, violence in the community and then you throw COVID on top of it...that I would call trauma to be both complex and chronic," he said.
Paul is grateful for the state and district leaders' efforts on making students' mental health a priority.
"It is needed. Our kids need it. I appreciate it. We need it here," Paul said.
The $360,000 grant is given over a five-year-period. Cassady says they will start using it this semester.
Bibb, Houston and Hall counties were selected for the grant because they have high-performing behavioral support services and their district leaders requested more mental health services to meet the needs of their students.