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TISD staff learning more about mental health issues

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TYLER (KYTX) - Tyler ISD nurses are arming themselves with information. They're learning valuable lessons about the mental health of their students.

After the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, TISD school nurses asked an ETMC Behavioral Center therapist to lead a seminar on how to detect and deal with students' mental problems.

In the wake of a national tragedy, people across the nation say learning about mental health is crucial. Some local experts say the state of Texas needs to put more effort into supporting mental health patients.

"In East Texas right now, it takes up to 6 months or longer to get an appointment with a child psychiatrist. Many psychiatrists do not accept insurance, they're cash only," said Brenda McBride, a licensed social worker with ETMC Behavioral Health. She says that's why many kids who need help don't get it or go unnoticed.

That's why ETMC is helping school nurses spot problems.

"Trying to give them some more resources, and help them understand the needs of children and adolescents with mental health problems," McBride said.

She says kids spend most of their time at school and that's why it's so important that the people who work within TISD know how to detect if there's a problem.

McBride says look for children who are aggressive or disconnected.

"Research supports the fact that children that are disconnected from their relationships don't have empathy and if you don't have empathy you don't have remorse for doing these type of devastating events," she said.

That's why it's so important school staff members make personal connections with children.

"These behaviors don't happen out of the blue."

Mother of two TISD students, Lisa Preddy, is glad the district is being so proactive.

"What happened at Sandy Hook is unfathomable. Had a professional had a chance to intervene beforehand, it could have been prevented so I'm very proud that TISD is hopefully preventing anything from ever harming our children," she said.

The goal is to keep the momentum going and teach similar seminars to teachers, counselors and administrators throughout East Texas.

If you're a parent and are looking for mental health resources, ETMC Behavioral Health Center has trained professionals to help find the right path for each mental health patient.

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