MISSION, Texas (KVEO) — The start of school is just around the corner and last year students have endured several changes, from learning through a computer screen to possibly losing a loved one to COVID- 19.

The Mission Consolidated Independent School District (CISD) and local non-profit have come up with separate programs to make transitioning back to in-person learning as smooth as possible.

Jesse Trevino, Director of Guidance Counseling for Mission CISD said students have not been at school for a year and a half and because of that, he knows there will be gaps in education but also growing anxiety about coming back in school over the death of family members. 

“This area got hit hard especially the mission area” Trevino adds how students have lost people in their family, “especially grandparents”

Trevino told KVEO they have hired on more help for the upcoming school year as they will be face to face and the district understands mental health is important. 

“We have 5 but this year it’s going to grow, we have 2 more LPC, licensed professional counselors, so that makes it 7 and then we are going to have 3 social workers,” said Trevino. 

Trevino is hoping with the more hands-on staff and with the help of mentor programs in schools between faculty and students can assist all students that are suffering. 

“We’re talking about 100 and the majority were anxiety and depression, and some were due to the loss of a loved one.” Trevino adds another program that they will be using is, “Capturing Kids’ Hearts’ the whole idea is you need to have their hearts before you have their mind.”

For students who don’t feel comfortable talking about their anxiety or discussing their loss at school, Cindy Waddle, Senior Professional Counselor for the Children’s Bereavement Center said they’ve kept their doors open for them. 

“We have seen an increase in families who need support after the death of a loved one due to covid.” Waddle goes on to say, “Our numbers we’ve surpassed what we served in 2020 just in this year alone.”

Waddle added she knows some of their patients’ concerns align with having to go back to school.  

“There is a lot of increased anxiety about returning to face-to-face learning and on top of that learning to express their grief in the school setting,” said Waddle. 

The Children’s Bereavement Center also has a hallway called the “wall of hearts” dedicated for patients to paint a heart for the loved one that they have lost, another healing form they use has to do with music. 

“We cater to supporting them using the expressive arts so we use art intervention, music, interventions, drama and play as well,” said Waddle. 

Waddle said the common red flags parents should look out for are drastic and significant changes, like eating and sleeping habits.

If you or a loved one is in need of help and would like to schedule a counseling session with the Children’s Bereavement Center you apply online.