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Virginia Beach school leaders launch mental health task force

The task force pulls together multiple partners in the community like the Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health, Virginia Beach Police, and social services.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Anxiety, uncertainty, and change is hitting students hard during the pandemic, and the Virginia Beach community is paying close attention. 

The Virginia Beach School Division just launched a mental health task force to tackle longstanding mental health issues and problems that have formed throughout the pandemic. 

During the school year, without the regular interaction with students and families, they saw the need to reach out more. 

“There were some students who actually increased their level of involvement with school counselors, while others who they had not heard from and were concerned about,” said VBCPS Coordinator of School Counseling Services Robert Jamison. 

Jamison said the idea for the task force has been in the works for a while. The task force pulls together multiple partners in the community like the Kempsville Center for Behavioral Health, Virginia Beach Police, and social services. 

The group will periodically meet this school year to identify gaps in mental health support and resources. They will bring recommendations to the school board closer to the summer. 

“We want the task force to come together to have a general understanding and gathering of those that are engaged in the work, so we can move forward and support one another even better than we already are.,” Jamison said. 

In the meantime, Jamison said they are actively supporting students now and encourage them to seek help. 

“It’s OK to not be OK,” Jamison said. “This is something that we all have addressed in our own lives in some way shape or form. Some of us just need a little more assistance and that is fine! Getting an opportunity to talk that through with someone is not a sign of weakness, it is simply a matter of life.”