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MADISON, Ala. – The Madison City Schools mental health coordinator says the COVID-19 pandemic has brought mental health challenges for students

The school district is bringing attention to the importance of students’ mental health through the Mental Health Matters Health Fair happening tomorrow.

Madison City Schools Mental Health Coordinator Stephanie Allen says students are facing challenges today that they’ve never had to face before.

“We’ve had a lot of changes in what school looks like, they are also experiencing the stress of what a pandemic has done at home,” said Allen. “Whether that’s financial stresses in their family, people that they love who are sick.”

On Tuesday night, the district is hosting Mental Health Matters to provide resources for parents.

“As your kids get older and as they become teenagers, a lot of the things they may be struggling with are really hard to talk about,” said Allen. “It’s uncomfortable you don’t know what other people are going to say if it’s a mental health issue.”

Parents will have the opportunity to connect with community experts including:

“In mental health support, grief support, crisis support, suicide prevention, substance abuse. All these important areas they are actually going to be building a mental health toolkit as they go. So they will actually be picking up tangible tools tangible resources they can take home with them.”

The summit will also include the clinical director of the National Children’s Advocacy Center as the keynote speaker

“He is here to help parents connect, open up the conversation about mental health, break down stigma regarding mental health and help parents leaving feeling like they are connected and aware of resources that we have for them,” said Allen.

Allen says the keynote speaker’s presentation and a digital toolbox with resources will be put online for those who can’t make the in-person event.

Madison City Schools Mental Health Matters summit will be held at the James Clemens High School auditorium on Tuesday, September 14, at 5:30 p.m.

The event is for all Madison City School parents and any interested community members.