TWIN FALLS, Idaho — At the beginning of this school year, the Twin Falls School District partnered with BPA Health and introduced the Student and Family Assistance Program. The goal of the program was to provide free counseling sessions for families to address issues that could be impeding their child's academic performance.
“It was time to take some steps to see what we could do to support our student’s mental health," said Eva Craner, the Public Information Officer for the Twin Falls School District. "That has been a focus of the school district for quite some time.”
The program was made possible by the America Rescue Plan, which is federal funding from the government to go towards COVID-19 relief.
Despite the district offering this new service, officials have not seen it utilized as they had originally hoped. Officials say they only tend to see an increase in interest when they send out reminders. They are now planning on sending out messages about this resource on a more consistent basis.
“We really need to keep this top of mind for parents and families so that it’s handy," said Craner. "If you’re dealing with a challenge in your life or your child’s life, you don’t want to have to go digging through a website to find a phone number. If it’s sitting in your email inbox from this morning, you’re probably going to make that call.”
School officials also want to point out that this service can be used to discuss a variety of life's obstacles and not just come into play when someone is having a severe health crisis.
“Finding that motivation, setting goals, preparing for a transition, changes in your life, interpersonal conflicts," said Craner. "It doesn’t have to be a severe mental health challenge that you're experiencing to reach out and get help early on.”
Since there is still a good portion of the school year left, families are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity this service offers for them and their kids.
“Please give the Students and Family Assistance Program a call," said Craner. "It’s free, it’s here for all of our students, and we just want to make sure that parents know that it’s available to them and feel comfortable using it.”