TCSS Adds Mental Health Services Coordinator
TCSS welcomes Mrs. Angela Kelly to the role of Mental Health Services Coordinator, a new position within our school system. While Mrs. Kelly is new to this role, she is not new to TCSS. Previously, she served as our ESL Social Worker, and still maintains these duties in her new role.
The Mental Health Services Coordinator position is made possible in part by a new School-Based Mental Health Coordinator Pilot Program at the state level. Efforts to improve student social and emotional wellness may involve school nursing, school safety, special education, transportation, counseling, community partnerships, and more. The role of the Mental Health Services Coordinator is to support and expand coordination of these efforts, ultimately contributing to the success of our students.
“Students’ brains cannot learn if they are overwhelmed with trauma, stress, toxic stress, hunger, etc.,” Mrs. Kelly said.
“In the last three years, TCSS has seen a steady increase of suicide protocols being completed in our schools, surprisingly high numbers in elementary schools. My goal in this position is to ensure that students are receiving quality social-emotional care at school, that parents are educated about resources and techniques so that they can assist their children, and teachers are taking care of themselves and are aware and not afraid to use and teach social emotional techniques.”
The Alabama Legislature appropriated $4.5 million to provide grants to local school systems, to fund the MHSC position for Fiscal Year 2021. 75 percent of Alabama school districts implemented this position during the pilot year.
“This new position opens so many doors for our school district to spread awareness about mental health and wellness, increase access to mental health services, provide training for staff, students, and parents, and dismiss the negative ideas about mental illness. I am so excited to be here in this position and I will work hard for our schools, students, and families.”
Mrs. Kelly is a graduate of Hillcrest High School and holds Bachelor and Master of social work degrees from The University of Alabama. Before joining TCSS four years ago, Mrs. Kelly worked with Tuscaloosa Department of Human Resources and Tuscaloosa City Schools. She holds an Independent Clinical Social Worker License and served on the founding board of the School Social Work Association of Alabama.
“What a team we have and leaders that believe in what school social workers can do and the importance of mental wellness. So thankful for our pioneers who got the ball rolling: Gwen Harper, Dr. Cheryl Fondren, and Suzette Wyatt, and the continued support and leadership of Suzette, Jackie Hudgins, Mark Franks, and Dr. Keri Johnson.”
You can reach Mrs. Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org.