SARTELL (WJON News) - There continues to be a growing need for mental health support and services for students across the country.

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Sartell-St. Stephen Superintendent Jeff Ridlehoover says heading into this school year, they've stressed the importance of making sure students have a strong support system within each school building.

One of the things we've done is become one of a handful of schools to be a Kognito Champions School District. This is where staff is training around a series of mental health initiatives and we did that with some of our staff prior to the school year.

Ridlehoover says with the help of some grant funding, the district was able to hire a new student mental health advocate and student mental health therapist.

He says they are also encouraging students in the high school to meet with their counselor at least three times a year.

Some of those meetings are just a simple, hey how's it going, type thing. When we do find out there are things that are more series and need to be address, we know where to find those students and they know who to come to.

Ridlehoover says early data shows students are taking advantage of these additional services.

He says by increasing access to these types of services, they feel it will increase the overall student experience, resulting in higher levels of learning.


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