Martinsville City schools to perform mental health assessments on students

‘We are just trying to be preventative and proactive,’ said Martinsville’s school psychologist

MARTINSVILLE, Va. – Doctors say checking in on your mental health is just as important as getting regular check-ups for your physical health. That’s why Martinsville City Public Schools is prioritizing students’ mental health in a new way – by performing a mental health assessment.

School psychologist Dr. Travis Worrell and his team of counselors will perform these assessments on students K-12.

The assessment will consist of asking students how they feel about statements like these,

“‘I hate school.’ ‘I’m afraid to try new things.’ ‘I feel like I fit in.’ ‘I give up easily.’ ‘I have a hard time relaxing,’” explained Dr. Worrell.

The idea behind these screenings came during the pandemic when school counselors sent home questionnaires for students to complete during remote learning.

“Not only were we able to get a temperature check of the population, but there were about two to three students who said they really needed to talk to someone right away. And if we had not asked that question, we would not know that,” said Dr. Worrell.

He said Martinsville is the first in the state to offer these mental health screenings, which he claims will help school staff support students so they can better succeed in and out of the classroom.

“We are just trying to be preventative and proactive because, with mental health, you can’t really afford to be reactive. After the fact, it’s sometimes too late. And we know one conversation can save a life.”

The screening answers are confidential. Parents or students are also able to opt out of the assessment.

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