Duval County schools focusing on students' mental health

PSAs from students honored

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and Duval County Schools are committed to helping their students through any struggles they may have. The district held a video public service announcement contest to get the students' perspective on the mental health stigma.

The winning video was created by students at Paxon School for Advanced Studies.

"The most important thing for us when doing this video was realizing that mental health awareness doesn't just manifest itself in just three or four ways, it sometimes manifests itself in subtle ways and we tried to show that in the video," Paxon student and one of the creators of the winning entry Corey Rose said. "There are a lot of people who might suffer from a mental illness and not know that they even have one."

The third-place winning team from Westside High School included Aurora Holmes.

"A lot of times, people who have anxiety disorders, it's often misconstrued as teenage phases, like hormones are acting weird, when actually these people are having real issues," Holmes said.

Katrina Taylor, director of school behavioral health with the Duval County Public Schools said that one of the most important factors to consider is how long 

"If some behaviors occur over two weeks or longer, that's when you need to take your student to see their health care provider. we're talking about extreme sadness, extreme crying. being extremely angry," Taylor said. "If they are getting into conflicts with students, with teachers with you, then you need to take you student to their pediatrician to see what's going on."

There are also resources in schools, including the first option, school counselors. After that, eight full-service schools that are placed across the county offer therapists to provide services to students and families.