'Kids are struggling'; Anna ISD has plan to help - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

'Kids are struggling'; Anna ISD has plan to help

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ANNA, Texas -- The Anna Independent School District has a new mental health initiative called Thrive.

The strategy incorporates mental health into learning.

"There's a big focus on student education, that's going to be a big part of this," explained Vince Sharp, the district's director of counseling. "Teaching kids about resilience about coping; understanding how to make it through life. It's tough, and just sometimes they need help, they need to be educated."

Thrive educates students, teachers and parents about mental health. It also provides resources including a peer support program.

"Kids are struggling, and really they're suffering in a lot of cases," Sharp said. "We have to look as schools what we can do to help those kids."

Anna ISD partnered with five different evidence-based organizations,  including the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Brain Health,  to get facts and statistics on what really needs to be addressed in students' mental health.

"We're just not paying attention to what a child is truly asking or needing," Anna Mayor Nate Pike said. "Depression, anxiety and other areas in mental health do affect our children, and this program is going to help create awareness for the resources that are available."

The initiative's contributors stress that there needs to be a change in culture within schools by using these new strategies.

"There's a lot of components to it, but the bottom line is: We're taking care of kids and trying to heal hearts," Sharp said, adding that he hopes other school districts will join the initiative.

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