In a statement on Friday, Breed said that the city is expanding the Mobile Response Team (MRT), which provides personalised mental health and wellness services for children and youth, including in-person interventions during the pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
The expansion of the MRT bolsters the School District’s ongoing efforts to help students cope with complex issues such as stress, trauma, suicide, bullying, depression, self-esteem, drug and alcohol use, sexual health, and relationships, according to the announcement.
“For all of us, this has been a hard year on our mental health. But for young people who were already dealing with a lot of stress and mental health challenges before the pandemic, this year has been especially challenging,” said Breed.
“Students have been without the support systems that they normally get at school, and while there have been mental health resources available online, we know that some situations require an in-person response.”
Due to the pandemic, many San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) students have been unable to access in-person counselling and behavioural health services that are normally available at school.
Since schools shifted to distance learning in March, the School District has transitioned many services to virtual formats, including social worker office hours and online meetings.
“Even with innovative distance learning measures in place, the Covid-19 school closures have had an undeniably adverse impact on K-12 learning and student well-being, especially among low-income students and students of colour who are experiencing increased rates of anxiety, depression, and other serious health conditions,” said City Supervisor Hillary Ronen.
SFUSD has made 118,000 wellness check calls since last spring. Of those, 77 per cent of the families said they were doing “pretty good” or “great”, but about one in four ere not, according to the announcement.