Health & Wellness During a Pandemic

Health & Wellness March 24, 2021
Dear Pine-Richland Parent/Guardian, 
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every person and family in some way. Our children, especially adolescents, continue to experience increasing levels of stress and mental health concerns, and we wanted to make sure that you were aware of the resources available for students through both their school Counseling Department- K-12 and listed below.  
The stressors our students face can come from multiple sources. The pandemic has disrupted our lives and caused stress due to COVID-19 related health problems, inconsistencies in routine and school, grief and loss, loss of health care and economic instability, and isolation and strained social connections. Students have also been experiencing stress and grief related to social justice and racial equity issues.(APA, 2020; NASP, 2021). 
It is important to recognize that with these disruptions to daily life, any change in a student’s behavior may suggest an increased need for mental health support services. We encourage you to review the resources, outlined below, that are available to students in the Pine-Richland School District. 
As a community, it is up to all of us to empower our students to develop emotional resilience, maintain ongoing connections with peers, and identify trusted adults at home and at school. We are in this together. 
Emotional Health & Well-Being
Counseling, Psychological & Social
Work Supportive Services
Our school counselors, psychologists, and social workers conduct check-ins and offer individual and group counseling services to help our students with academic, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. Contacts for these services are Mrs. Carolyn Welshonce, School Social Worker (7-12),724-625-3111, ext. 2227; Dr. Taylour Kimmel, school psychologist (K-6), Dr. Missy Ramirez, school psychologist (7-12); and Dr. Maura Paczan, Lead Psychologist District-Wide, can be reached at 724-443-7230, ext. 6500.
Suicide Prevention &
Intervention (K-12)
We encourage all parents, school staff, and students to review the Preventing Youth Suicide Risk Factors and Warning Signs. Students who are experiencing suicidal ideation often do not directly seek help. Parents, school personnel, and students can help recognize the warning signs and observe changes in behavior. More information on what to look for and do can be found at CDC Mental Health and Coping During COVID-19, Pine-Richland Suicide Prevention and Intervention, and Immediate Crisis Help and Support
How to Get Help
If you recognize or hear info raising concern:
  • As a first option, we recommend our students to talk with one trusted adult at home and school.
  • Call 911 if there is any indication that danger appears immediately.
  • Do NOT leave the child alone until his or her safety is made certain.  
Directly report potential concerns to:
  • The Northern Regional Police Department (911) or anonymously through the Pine-Richland TIPS Line: 724-449-TIPS (8477).

  • Safe2Say: 1-844-SAF2SAY or Safe2Say operates 24/7 and allows one to report a secure and anonymous safety concern to help identify and intervene upon at-risk individuals before they hurt themselves and/or others.) 
  • Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226): All calls are answered 24/7 by a mental health counselor.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 - All calls answered 24/7 by a mental health counselor.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741 to reach a crisis counselor 24/7. The Crisis Text Line is similar to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and other hotlines but allows those in crisis to text rather than call.  
Grief Resources (K-12)
Pine-Richland partners with The Highmark Caring Place to provide support, grief resources and materials, consultation services, educational training, and peer support groups. Please reach out to your school counselor for assistance in getting started. 
SAP Student Assistance Program (SAP)
Students in grades K-12 are supported through this systematic team approach to navigate school and mental health resources for families and remove barriers to a child’s learning and mental health treatment. You can find information about Pine-Richland’s SAP and team members for each school building along with resource numbers here: Student Assistance Program/Overview.
RAMS Way (K-12)
Pine-Richland has a district-wide positive behavioral support and intervention program - RAMS Way - that encourages a positive school climate for both students and staff members,- both virtually and in-person.  

School-Based Mental Health Counseling
Students in grades K-12 can access outpatient mental health services both in school and through telehealth through a partnership with Holy Family Services. New intakes for outpatient referrals can be completed by contacting either your school counselor and/or Holy Family Services at 412-766-9020, ext. 1222.
Resources for Families
(Food Resources, Child Care, Shelters, Unemployment Compensation, Utility Assistance, Medical Assistance, Internet Safety)
The Pennsylvania Department of Education has a list of Resources to Support Families for support, services, and information that can help children and families with their basic needs. 
Free Breakfast & Lunch for All Students/
Meal Pick-Up for Virtual Learners
We continue to offer ALL students free breakfast and lunch through the end of the 2020-2021 school year. For more information, click here.