Helping families in need amid a global pandemic


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The social, emotional, and physical needs of Tennessee’s students are intensifying, as economic stress and lack of services continue to challenge Tennessee’s most vulnerable families.

Communities In Schools of Tennessee is supporting students and their families during this time of unprecedented need, releasing a new report that shows we are on the verge of a crisis of mental and emotional wellbeing.

That study found that the top three concerns amid the Coronavirus are child and adult stress, food insecurity and finding and accessing educational resources.

“We are here to both be an ear, listener, and connector to available resources that maybe families don’t know about because they never had to navigate this before,” Samantha Wigand, the CEO of Communities In Schools of Tennessee said Thursday.

Data shows that for students, mental health struggles are exacerbated by a lack of medications and available counseling, as well as not having the daily structure and socialization that school provides; many families are also dealing with addiction, domestic violence, and other mental health strains happening in the home.

On top of all of that, parents and caregivers are dealing with the strain of financial instability and food insecurity.

“We know that student success has always been dependent on more than simply attendance and test scores, but the additional emotional and economic stress this pandemic has placed on students and families who were already vulnerable presents a real risk of creating additional barriers for academic success, and ultimately, widening achievement gaps across our state,” Wigand said. “Tennesseans have a long history of stepping up to lend a hand, and we’ve never needed that volunteer spirit more than we do now.”

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