LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The pandemic is taking a huge toll on Las Vegas students' mental health. The Clark County School District plans on connecting students with mental health professionals and trained teen ambassadors to provide an important lifeline.
“I got to a point to where I was unmotivated to do work because there’s a whole pandemic going on. People are losing their lives every day," said Charity Kenyi.
Kenyi found it difficult to stay focused when she was stuck at home doing distance learning, away from Arbor View High School. When students were allowed back on campus, it created a greater focus on mental health for her and her classmates.
“All these kids that I go to school with, they may not be 100 percent with their mental health and how it took a toll with their education at school," Kenyi said.
As president of the Black Student Union, Kenyi is now part of a mental health initiative to train as an ambassador to help students who may be dealing with similar issues at her school. Kenyi says her classmates will likely open up more to their peers.
“Oh…we may be going through the same thing. Let’s talk about it. What’s going on? How can we fix it, how can we help each other?” she said.
Students can also connect with a mental health professional virtually through Hazel Health.
CCSD is using $2.5 million from the American Rescue Plan to launch a system that addresses the mental health needs of students.
“It makes sure that our schools notice how we’re doing as students within our school and how we react upon certain things,” Kenyi said.
At a recent African American summit hosted by the Clark County Black Caucus, 94 percent of students said they had or knew of someone going through a mental health crisis. Kenyi says it just highlights how important mental health is for students, and she wants to be part of the solution.
“Oh, I’m going through this. Can you please help me? Just being able to have those conversations we need to have,” she said.
This effort is concentrated within Clark County so far, but the hope is that this push with telehealth and student ambassadors can be offered throughout Nevada with the help of state leaders.