Lexington students’ contacts with counselors, social workers and other mental-health professionals have quadrupled in pandemic

The pandemic has quadrupled the “contacts between Fayette County students and district counselors, social workers and other mental-health professionals,” reports Valarie Honeycutt Spears of the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In the current school year, there have been 303,607 such contacts, compared to 74,174 for the same period in 2018-19 and 220,797 in 2019-20, the school year in which the pandemic began, Spears reports. When instruction went remote, the schools began providing mental-health services, Fayette County Supt. Demetrius Liggins said Tuesday at a Commerce Lexington luncheon.

Liggins said the use of those services “is probably the biggest surprise for educators in general. We knew about the learning loss. We knew kids were home and they weren’t learning as effectively as they would have been if they had been in person. We really did not realize the impact that the isolation and the lack of socialization had on our students and on our staff, quite frankly, and how that would impact the school year.”

Spears reports, “Students elsewhere in the state recently told Kentucky lawmakers that students were suffering from mental health issues as a result of their time in at-home learning.” The state House has passed a bill that “would excuse student absences for mental health reasons.” It is in the Senate Education Committee.
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