Human resources

Improving Access to Mental Health Resources, Writes Flagler County School Board Candidate Courtney VandeBunte | palm coast

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Courtney Vande Bunte

Dear Editor:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and teenage mental health issues are at an all-time high, exacerbated by endless, disturbing social media and headlines that contribute to our children’s growing anxiety.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 49.5% of teens suffer from a mental health disorder, which can range from ADD to depression. Given the growing connection between substance abuse and mental health diagnoses, it is terrible that we are focusing on the availability and accessibility of resources at Flagler schools to ensure that all students have equal access to what they need to be happy and successful. Too many lives are cut short by violence, addiction and suicide, making it imperative that we support the right programs that will foster growth and bond our families within Flagler Schools.

As most know, there is a direct correlation between family involvement and a student’s overall success. I fully support all parents and families to play a leading role in supporting their children’s education within our schools, but we need to provide our families with more flexibility to meet all of their various needs. For example, it can be difficult for single-family households to attend the myriad but important meetings, conferences and ceremonies, and as a school board we need to be aware of and support this. Our number 1 priority must be the success and happiness of our children, and we cannot achieve this without staying focused and working closely with our families.

There is a lot of noise in the media around education and what is important. We, the community – including parents, children, teachers and staff – know the difficulties that our children face on a day-to-day basis. This is what the school board needs to focus on. Happy, healthy children and happy, supportive families lead to happy, safe communities, which I strive for, not just for my three children, but for every child here in Flagler County.

Courtney Vande Bunte

palm coast

Editor’s Note: VandeBunte is a candidate for the Flagler County School Board, District 2. Explaining her background and the reason for her candidacy, she wrote, “I grew up here in Flagler County, I was educated in schools Flagler public schools and I taught for many years at some of those same schools as a very effective educator. being a mother while providing educational counseling services for districts across the country My children are all school age now so in making the decision to return to work I realized I could have a greater impact on more families, children, teachers and staff by showing up to the school board rather than returning to class have first-hand experience and knowledge of the necessary priorities our community needs to address to focus.”