Schools throughout Butte County will continue stepped up mental health counseling through the coming school year, thanks to a $1.6 million grant announced Tuesday by the North Valley Community Foundation.
The money will keep professionals and paraprofessionals on the job for another school year as Ridge residents and the displaced continue surviving the effects of the deadliest fire in recorded California history.
Scott Lindstrom, Coordinator of Trauma Response Recovery for the Butte County Office of Education said after initial shock and solidarity, survivors can face a rough road. In young people, trauma can manifest in many ways such as withdrawal, aggression, distractibility or fear.
“Just keep in mind that this is probably the first time for most kids that there was no safe place; neither home, nor school,” Lindstrom said. “There was no adult that could make them feel completely safe.”
The funding is intended to provide services to students, staff, administrators and parents of every school in the county, public, private or charter.
The grant will make a very noticeable difference, Lindstrom said.
“In terms of staff available to actually provide mental health services on a school campus, it does a lot more than double,” Lindstrom said. “It’s filling a space that just, a service that really was not being provided before, in large part.
Collected from generous donors in the fire’s wake, the money is being distributed as a grant by the North Valley Community Foundation’s Butte Strong Fund.