Mount Greylock Switches to Telehealth Model for Mental Health Services

Due to Mount Greylock’s remote school model, many mental health and therapy services have had to transition into a remote setting as well. The Echo talked to school social worker Keith Jones and school psychologist Geri O’Brien to discuss the services available for students. 

A few activities have been implemented during the pandemic, while some, such as Lunch Bunch, have been around since pre-pandemic times. 

“We had fun last year when we offered Lunch Bunch group in-person, where we had a great turnout,” Jones said. “This year, I know it’s been difficult. I think…screen time kind of serves as a barrier to Lunch Bunch, but that is held on Wednesdays from 11-11:30. I’m always welcoming students to come, and I always log on, so even if it’s one student, I’m always there on Wednesdays from 11 to 11:30.” 

“Another idea that we developed are the Wellness Walks that we’re going to start after February break,” O’Brien said. Wellness Walks will take place on Wednesday afternoon at 2:45, with more information to come. “We were hearing from parents about students feeling isolated and wanting to be with friends, so we thought that that would be a healthy way where people could engage in social distancing but also get outside and be with their friends.”

One initiative that Jones has begun this semester is a social-emotional wellness class for the seventh graders. 

“We are using the Second Step curriculum, which is a social-emotional learning curriculum, and every seventh grader, starting this semester, will be participating in it,” Jones said. “We are piloting it this year with a plan of incorporating it for every seventh grade in the future.”

Jones said part of this curriculum is discussing how to manage emotions and relationships, and learning problem solving skills to “further develop the social emotional skills of our students.” 

The Echo shared an anonymous survey with students about Greylock’s mental health services. One student, who has participated in some programs, said the events weren’t as good as in-person. 

Mr. Jones is a resource, but Peer Team events feel like the only thing actually going on,” the student said.

Expectations are the same, but it is so much harder to get work done,” the same student said. “The administration has practically made it harder on kids this year when they should have been more relaxed.”

A common issue seemed to be the accessibility and awareness of events going on. Jones and O’Brien stressed all the different ways that students can get in touch. Jones mentioned their Instagram page, @mgstudentsupport, which he would love for students to follow. Another resource is their canvas page, linked here, that students can join to find different links and activities. Information is available on the Peer Team and District webpage, including Jones’ and O’Brien’s contact information. The best way to reach them, though, is to call or email. 

“Send me a message on Instagram, shoot me an email, give me a ring, we’re always here,” Jones said. “We’re trying to do everything we can to connect with the students in this remote world. Unfortunately, you guys aren’t here. We don’t see you in the hallways or in gym or at lunch, so we are trying to do our best to be visible in a remote setting.” 

“Within guidance we work as a team,” O’Brien said. “Students, if they’re more comfortable reaching out to a guidance counselor, could do that, or reach out directly to us as well.”

In closing words, Jones said he is completely open to student suggestions. “If you guys have any suggestions, throw them out there. I would love to hear what you guys have for suggestions, so let us know.”