ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The CDC explains early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse can put those who experience them at risk of mental illness. Fulton County schools along with Schenectady City schools are focusing on their children’s mental health by providing support options students can feel comfortable going to.

The Family Counseling Center highlighted the Mobile Crisis Unit at Fulton County school which allows students to express moments of extreme crisis. This can vary from suicidal thoughts to aggressive behaviors that put either a child or others at risk. The agency’s Mobile Crisis Counselor Jamal Vazquez, works with these children daily in efforts to de-escalate situations. Vazquez attempts to get the student into a safe mental space in order for transportation to the services they need. In post-crisis check-ins Vazquez comments, “I find out how the child is doing, if there have been any changes, things like that,” “I go over grounding techniques and coping skills during the crisis and when I do my follow-up, we discuss if they have applied any of those techniques when they were feeling in crisis or angry to find out what worked and what didn’t.”

Vazquez approaches those in crisis as people not just as kids. He comments, “My role goes deeper than making sure that the child is safe. If a child is in crisis, they need someone to talk to them like a person and not a kid.” Vazquez reports he has seen an increase in crisis cases with children as young as four or five years old. He explains he sees younger kids the most as they’re going through a time when they’re trying to understand their emotions.

At Schenectady City schools, they’ve partnered with tbh, a platform that aids in students’ mental health. Through tbh students have access to free virtual mental health counseling that is designed for students and led by a real therapist. Both school districts are taking strides to battle the stigma that surrounds mental health.