CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Corpus Christi Independent School District counselors are preparing for the new school year and one way they are doing that is by taking part in the Youth Mental Awareness Symposium.

Educators want to be equipped with all the tools to help students be successful and safe, so counselors from CCISD are learning how to properly stock their mental health first aid kits.

"What kinds of self-help strategies can we provide to students? Reassurances to the students, as well as how to deescalate when a crisis occurs," said Veronica Trevino, a behavioral specialist with Education Service Center Region 2.

Laura Montoya has been an elementary school counselor for 10 years and she says addressing mental health is nothing new, but from her own experience and research, there has been an uptick.

"Anxiety, depression and even concerns of suicide are on the rise," Montoya said.

In order to help students with their mental health, educators say it takes a village, so they will be sharing everything that they have learned.

"Be able to take it back to campuses and help our teachers on campus, our administration, and our parents," counselor Khawlah Salman said.

It's especially important for the parents, according to Laura Lopez with the Coastal Plains Community Center. She said how a student deals with their mental health can sometimes come down to mom and dad.

"They many times feel hindered by the parents lack of cooperation or lack of understanding of mental illness, and that proves to be one of the biggest challenges when you are working with youth," Lopez said.

Counselors will be continuing their training throughout this week.

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