McKinney ISD expands pilot program to meet mental health needs

McKinney ISD students will have access to telebehavioral health medicine through Children's Health Hospital. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
McKinney ISD students will have access to telebehavioral health medicine through Children's Health Hospital. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

McKinney ISD students will have access to telebehavioral health medicine through Children's Health Hospital. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

In the wake of learning and social interruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, McKinney ISD is expanding its mental health program to help meet the needs of students.

This year, for the first time, all MISD fourth- through 12th-grade students will have access to telebehavioral health services through Children’s Health Hospital, according to Jennifer Akins, MISD senior director of guidance and counseling. The program connects families to a behavioral health case manager who can perform assessments over the phone and provide access to virtual counseling.

“Our kids are adjusting again to a new way of interacting with school,” Akins said. “As we move forward into this fall, I think just having flexibility and helping our students not only reconnect and recover from this experience, but also helping them find new resilience and new emotional stability moving forward, is important.”

Other efforts


Over the summer, MISD counselors received training with platforms for online engagement with students and underwent continued trauma training.

“This has been a traumatic period for people as they have experienced losses of their traditional supports,” Akins said.

While trauma training is not new to the district, the extra instruction helps counselors develop good strategies for recognizing and treating symptoms of trauma, Akins said.


With some students staying home and many UIL activities put off, student interaction is limited this year. Education experts have said that social encounters are a big reason why people want their kids in school.

“School is a huge part of how kids connect with their peers,” said Ranita Cheruvu, senior lecturer at the University of North Texas’ College of Education.

Student interaction from sporting events, concerts and dances as well as in the hallways are important for their development, identity and overall school experience, Cheruvu said.

While school activities are limited this year, this should not be entirely unfamiliar to students, Akins said. During school breaks or in the summer, students have to go without their previous schedule or activities. She encouraged people to think creatively about how to connect to others and their peers.

“There are lots of areas where, as a community, we're having to adjust to different ways of connecting,” Akins said.

More information about the district's counseling partnerships and community resources can be found here. Parents can also follow the @MISDParenting page on Facebook to stay engaged with district efforts.

Additional reporting by Elizabeth Uclés
By Miranda Jaimes
Miranda has been in the North Texas area since she graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 2014. She reported and did design for a daily newspaper in Grayson County before she transitioned to a managing editor role for three weekly newspapers in Collin County. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in 2017 covering Tarrant County news, and is now back in Collin County as the editor of the McKinney edition.


MOST RECENT

The total number of active COVID-19 cases in McKinney is at 150 as of Sept. 18. (Community Impact staff)
Tracking COVID-19: 166 new cases reported in McKinney in past week

As of Sept. 18, there have been 2,207 confirmed total cases of COVID-19 and 2,021 recoveries in McKinney.

Arthritis is one of the conditions treated at Allay. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Allay Spine and Pain Management now open on Lake Forest Drive in McKinney

The business is headed by Dr. Douglas Maxey and offers a variety of therapies.

Dr. Sam Rolon is a physician for Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group Creekside Family Medicine in The Woodlands. (Courtesy St. Luke's Health)
Q&A: St. Luke's physician shares advice on flu season, vaccine and prevention

The influenza vaccine is recommended for nearly all patients of all ages ahead of this year's flu season, Dr. Sam Rolon said.

student in mask
TEA launches statewide COVID-19 dashboard for public schools

The Texas Education Agency, in collaboration with the Texas Department of State Health Services, has launched its latest COVID-19 dashboard for positive cases in Texas public schools.

Gov. Greg Abbott said Sept. 17 that data from Texas' 22 hospital regions will dictate when certain businesses can reopen at 75% capacity. (Screenshot of Sept. 17 press conference)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott: Retail stores, restaurants, office buildings, gyms can reopen at 75% capacity as early as Sept. 21

Nursing home and long-term care facilities will also be allowed to reopen for visitation as early as Sept. 24.

The upcoming Starbucks location will open along US 380 in Frisco. (Courtesy Starbucks)
New coffee shops in Frisco, Plano plus more popular DFW news

Read popular news from this week from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Hot Crab is now serving seafood dishes in Richardson. (Courtesy Hot Crab)
Seafood eatery Hot Crab opens in Richardson and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth business and community news.

Almost Home Animal Rescue's Heather Weeks, left, and Amy Desler pick up North Texas Giving Day yard signs. (Courtesy Kim Leeson/Communities Foundation of Texas)
North Texas Giving Day to aid more than 3,300 nonprofits

The 18-hour online event organized by Communities Foundation of Texas allows people to support local nonprofits and causes.

One in five children and adults have a learning disability, according to statistics from the National Center for Learning Disabilities. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Q&A: National Center for Learning Disabilities expert discusses challenges of special education, remote learning during pandemic

The NCLD's director of policy and advocacy spoke about the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on special education students and their development in and out of the classroom.

McKinney City Council approved the 2020-21 tax rate and budget at its Sept. 15 meeting. (Courtesy Fotolia)
McKinney adopts budget with no new tax revenue from existing properties

This marks the fifth consecutive year the city’s property tax rate has decreased and the first year the city adopted what is called a no-new revenue tax rate.

Council approved for the Medical City McKinney's Wysong Hospital building to be redeveloped. (Courtesy Google Images)
Wysong Hospital campus in McKinney receives new zoning

The Wysong Hospital campus and 11.47 acres surrounding it are under contract to be sold to an owner who plans to redevelop the property with commercial uses.

Dutch Bros. Coffee plans to open a Plano location next summer. (Courtesy Dutch Bros. Coffee)
Dutch Bros. Coffee coming to Plano and more DFW news

Read the latest Dallas-Fort Worth-area business and community news.