TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Samantha Clay, a counselor and Master's student at the University of Arizona College of Education, supports kids facing a variety of challenges.
"I meet with students one-on-one. We usually meet from 30 to 50 minutes. We talk about some of the issues that they're having," said Clay.
Clay works with a program called Talk It Out. The group provides free mental health counseling to students and families at Tucson Unified School District.
"Mental health was an issue prior to the pandemic, but it's also exasperated some of the issues," said Clay.
100 TUSD students, and/or their families, sought counseling with Talk It Out during the 2020-2021 school year.
"Some of the issues I've seen are kids struggling with relationships that they have in their families and symptoms of depression and anxiety. Some kids are feeling a little nervous and anxious about going to school," said Clay.
Clay said there a few simple ways parents can help their kids cope with stress.
"Breathing techniques, mindfulness techniques and also checking in with their emotions. Our emotions give us a lot of information about some of the the things that we're needing," said Clay,
Talk It Out hopes to reach more people within TUSD this school year.
"It's not only for students. It's for their family members as well. Obviously, one person's mental health affects everyone's mental health in the home," said Terri Howard with the Tucson Unified School District Family Resource Centers.
TUSD wants its families to know that seeking counseling is a positive step.
"It's a very brave thing to seek out counseling and to ask for help. I would encourage people to do it because you can experience a lot of growth and be able to find the help and support that you need," said Clay.
To learn more about mental health services provided by TUSD and Talk It Out, click here.