Detroit schools to invest $34M to mental health support for students, staff and families

"We live in an unprecedented time, there are things going on that none of us ever went through before," said Venesha Mitchell, a parent of a DPSCD student.

Detroit Public Schools Community District announced it is investing $34 million of its COVID-19 toward the mental health needs of students, staff, and families.

"I think we miss each other being around each other," said Nia Hawkins, DPSCD student.

The district says it’s working on 1-to-1 mental health at each school and has a mental health support line. It seeks to break down barriers and de-stigmatize mental health. Parents agree they are needed.

"Mental health is definitely looked down upon," said Patrice Davis, DPSCD parent. "It’s basically dismissed. I have a lot of family members who suffer from mental health issues and they definitely didn’t get the help they needed from school - so I think that is awesome."

Covid hit Detroit hard, taking its toll. A number of people died from the illness, as students battled with significant disruptions and transitions.

"We’re getting used to it now so it’s almost easier," said Hawkins. "But it is stressful on the brain. Like we have to wake up one day and it's virtual one day. So,  our sleep schedule is off - and that's an important part, too."

It is a recognition that everyone — students, staff, parents — -are struggling after a year and a half of the pandemic.

"For the teachers as well, they go through a lot of stress too," said Mitchell. "I couldn’t imagine teaching in a classroom with all these students and knowing that Covid is out here."

The district said it held Fall return and federal funding engagement sessions this summer to talk about this. And there is also a dashboard on their website outlining how they plan to spend the funds.

Each month at the school board meetings, updates will be given on the implementation of the funds.

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