Throughout the 2022-2023 school year, the Student Services Department and our mental health providers developed a monthly Mental Health Matters focus. Each month the Okaloosa County School District's (OCSD) mental health team, along with school administration, faculty, staff, and students, focused on one specific component of mental wellness and practiced self-care activities and resources to develop that area of focus for the month. "Our District's commitment to promoting mental health extends far beyond what the State of Florida requires. Currently, we have 21 mental health counselors, 9 social workers, and 8 CDAC counselors on staff. As we look ahead to the 2023-2024 academic year, we plan to expand our team by adding three more CDAC counselors and two additional mental health counselors," stated Superintendent Marcus Chambers. We also plan to have a full-time Mental Health Counselor available on campus at each middle and high school." In addition, each school is proud to have HOPE Squad, a peer-to-peer suicide prevention and awareness program.
The District is joining Mental Health America's campaign to participate in the nationwide recognition of May's Mental Health Awareness Month. Each school will participate in activities to promote mental health for students and staff. Knowing what mental health resources are available in our community is "key" to accessing those resources," stated Teri Schroeder, Student Services Program Director. Families can reference OCSD's Student Services Counseling Resources to find a myriad of resources in our community to assist in accessing treatment, counseling, and support for mental illness or to improve their mental wellness. For more information regarding Mental Health America's outreach, please visit www.mhanational.org.