BASD adds clinicians to Liberty HS staff to address student mental health needs

Written by on October 6, 2021

BASD adds clinicians to Liberty HS staff to address student mental health needs

By Chloe Nouvelle

October 6, 2021

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Concerns over students’ mental health made headlines last year. 

Listen to the story.

That’s because the pandemic changed school for many kids. Remote and hybrid schedules physically separated students from their classmates and school community. 

But now, in places like Liberty High School in the Bethlehem Area School District, students are back together. And their return has posed a unique set of challenges. 

Robin Sorensen, an employee of Pinebrook Family Answers who works as the clinical supervisor at Liberty High School, said the school’s clinicians already have a lot of referrals for care, even more than last year. 

Sorensen pointed out that high school isn’t just new to freshmen this year, but sophomores too. 

“I think there’s a lot more anxiety,” said Sorensen. “Just because some of the students have never experienced Liberty with all the kids here.”

On top of that, during the pandemic, Bethlehem’s high schools saw a sharp increase in the number of core class failures. So some students are repeating coursework they took last year, which Sorensen said can also be a source of frustration.

In an effort to address student stress, Liberty’s staff instituted something new this year: using the school’s loudspeaker system to lead a building-wide break.

“One of our either administrator(s) or teacher(s) will say, ‘Okay, now is our two-minute break,’ and they play ocean sounds or outside sounds,” said Sorensen. 

To help meet the increasing mental health needs of students, Liberty also added more clinicians from Pinebrook Family Answers to its school.

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