South San ISD mental health program provides care during pandemic and into summer

The CARE Zone has gone virtual to provide mental health resources, services

SAN ANTONIO – A pilot program that began during the 2019-2020 school year at South San ISD, called the CARE Zone, was a new way for students, parents and staff to be able to take advantage of free mental health resources.

However, the CARE Zone had to switch gears this Spring when the coronavirus pandemic forced schools to close. Everything switched to an online platform and a hotline was set up for parents.

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"That has been such a huge, monumental stress release for parents during this period of time and dealing with mental health issues in their kids," Talli Dodge from Jewish Family Services said.

Jewish Family Services is one of several local wellness organizations that have partnered with the CARE Zone.

The program was something students knew they needed and advocated for.

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In the past six months, the CARE Zone has seen over 1,300 community members from South San ISD.

“I feel that in this time, especially, that the services are much needed because it gives people a sense of space to just be them, and like really try to figure out who they are again in these certain times,” South San ISD student Marc Mendiola said.

The students involved with the CARE Zone meet weekly on Zoom to discuss their own mental health issues as well as how to help others.

As the summer begins, the CARE Zone will remain open to continue to provide mental health resources and services.

About the Author:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.