PPS and Portsmouth Health Dept. are 'Here to Help’

Portsmouth Public Schools and Portsmouth Health Department are ‘Here to Help’
Posted on 02/01/2021
Portsmouth Public Schools and Portsmouth Health Department are ‘Here to Help’

With schools operating virtually for almost a full calendar year, Portsmouth Public Schools and the Portsmouth Health Department are working to remind students, staff members and families there is support for those who may be feeling the mental and emotional toll of being apart this long.

Since the mandated closing of schools in March of 2020, the school division’s Office of School Psychology and School Counseling have compiled lists of mental health resources for staff and families to access on the division’s website.

The new “Here to Help” webpage has been updated and redesigned to provide even more digital resources as well as information on where families in need can receive one-on-one support.

“As we have navigated this new mode of instructional delivery, one of our key concerns has been how are we also addressing the mental health needs of our students and staff members while we are away,” said Dr. Elie Bracy, III, superintendent of Portsmouth Public Schools. “Our psychologists and counselors have done tremendous work to ensure we have a variety of resources available for all of our families, and now we want to make sure everyone knows that we are truly here to help.”

On the Here to Help website, families will find guides on how to have conversations at home in dealing with feelings of isolation, anxiety or depression. They also can learn more about how to connect with mental health professionals. For example, though schools are not in session, school counselors continue to be available for sessions with students who need to talk to someone.

Recognizing the toll this extended closure can have on staff members as well, the Here to Help website houses information on the division’s Employee Assistance Program, a free resource that connects employees – or members of employee’s families in need – with professional counselors.

“When we talk about maintaining good health during a pandemic, it is holistic: mind and body,” said Dr. Lauren James, director of the Portsmouth Health Department. “We are proud to partner with Portsmouth Public Schools in sharing the Here to Help message and let the members of our school community know they are not alone during this difficult time.”

Families can access the Here to Help website at www.ppsk12.us/heretohelp. Families are also always encouraged to reach out to their school’s counseling office with any specific questions or concerns.

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