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Dealing with emotional difficulties with the help of texting - KOAM TV 7

Dealing with emotional difficulties with the help of texting

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Some middle school students in Joplin gather for a presentation on a new social service that connects them with counselors.

North Middle School Principal Brandon Eggleston says the text message and e-mail service is for students, to help students, whether it's related to school or not.

Counselors say it comes down to knowing about an issue, so they can help deal with that issue.

"We've seen almost a doubling of the number of children involved in needing therapy," says Vicky Mieseler of Freeman's Ozark Crisis Center.  "Sometimes that's specifically tornado related, and sometimes it's tornado triggered."

Officials with both the Ozark Crisis Center and the Joplin School District say there's a need to be more social.

"Texting and anything online, you know shooting e-mails, that's the way they communicate and it's our responsibility as adults to be where the students are," says Principal Eggleston.

By early December, all Joplin students from fourth grade through high school seniors will be able to send text messages and e-mails of concern and hardship to either counselors at the Ozark Crisis Center or their school.

Students can put their names on the messages or send them anonymously.

"It's going to be a conversation starter and the hardest thing about these issues, is getting that conversation started," says Eggleston.

No matter the issue the goal is to remind students they're not alone.

The cost of the service is $94,000 for a seven year contract, which is being covered by the Missouri Foundation for Health and the Joplin Tornado First Response Fund.

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