ILLINOIS: Teens Are Anxious and Depressed, and Turning to the School Nurse for Help. But Most Illinois Schools Don’t Have One.
September 07, 2018
The role of Illinois school nurses has expanded to help meet the mental health needs of students. In addition to their traditional role of caring for physical health concerns, school nurses are increasingly addressing mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. To help nurses take on this larger role, some schools are offering them extra resources and training in mental health. Since their office is often the first place students go for help, nurses are working with guidance counselors and social workers to develop support plans for students. Some nurse’s offices now include quiet spaces for students to go when they are feeling stressed or anxious. Talking more openly about mental health issues can help schools better address them, said Lynda Kim, school nurse at Willow Bend Elementary in Rolling Meadows. “If I see a child with medications for diabetes, I do what we need to do to make sure that diabetic child is safe. If I notice a child coming in with psychotropic meds, I’m going to alert the teachers about what we can do in the same way.”
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