Oldham County Schools

CRESTWOOD, Ky. (WDRB) -- Between bullying and teenage suicide, mental health is a growing need inside schools across the country. So Oldham County Schools will soon spend tens of thousands of dollars to reach more students.

The district is expanding its team of mental health consultants, which will give more students more access to the help they might need. Jonathan Wosoba, director of student services for Oldham County Schools, said keeping kids safe at school goes further than a secure building.

"We have so many kids who have experienced some level of trauma," he said.

Inside, it's a focus on students' needs for mental health.

"It's grown exponentially over the years," said Wosoba, who oversees the district's mental health consultants.

Because of growing mental health needs, the school district is about to hire a fourth one for up to $80,000.

"If a student goes into crisis, and there's a need for immediate services from a mental health professional, they pick up that role," Wosoba said.

The decision comes with the recent passage of Kentucky's School Safety Bill, which, in part, calls for more mental health counselors. In Oldham County, the position, which serves all grade levels, links the school with students' mental health providers and gives teachers guidance on how to work with those students.

"It may be a time of year or it may be a certain skill set that the student really struggles with, and that can trigger the anxiety, and that can trigger and outburst or a shutdown," Wosoba said.

During school tragedies, mental health consultants also take the lead.

"In the event of a completed suicide, what do we do with the rest of the student body? What to do we do with the rest of the families? How to we console the staff at the school? Unfortunately, we've had to do that," Wosoba said.

The district said the new position will free up its current counselors to focus even more on mental health. It will be filled before the start of next school year.

Copyright 2019 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.