Counseling services readily available at Baxter Springs Schools - KOAM TV 7

Counseling services readily available at Baxter Springs Schools as students return to class

Baxter Springs Schools are now back in session and the district has counseling services readily available for students returning to school.
Several students at Baxter Springs Middle School took advantage of the service today.
For some, visiting with a school counselor can be life-changing.
"If it was not for my counselor at school I do not know where I would be today," said Savannah Stewart, Baxter Springs resident.
Savannah Stewart talked with her school counselor for months after moving into foster care.
Stewart says having counseling services available after the recent tornado is important.
"A lot of people are very stressed out," she said.  "They're lost."
That's why Lori Kellum, counselor at Baxter Springs Middle School, says students need extra support available at school.
"If you are distracted by feelings of sadness or anxiety that you have, then it's very difficult to concentrate in a classroom and to learn," Kellum said.
She says it is important for students to deal with those feelings now rather than later in life.
"Keeping fears and anxiety bottled up inside isn't good for anyone at any age, so talking those things out now is very important, very timely," she said.
She also says having counseling services at the school allows students to better transition back into their everyday normal routine.
"Consistency is the key whenever it comes to dealing with young people," Kellum said. "For them to know, yes school is going to go on, we're going to make it through the next couple weeks and we're going to pick up right where we left off."
She encourages parents to talk to their children about the option of counseling.
"Sometimes just to have someone to talk to and to voice those fears, it's very important for our kids," Kellum said.
"They should talk to their child first and make sure that it's right for them and that they want to, because if somebody doesn't want to, I wouldn't really force it," Stewart said.
Kellum says after the devastation the town has seen, almost everyone could use someone to talk to.
"We are a very close, tight knit community and we all feel for each other," she said.  "It hurt us all."
Spring River Mental Health and Wellness in Riverton has also offered to assist the school district with providing counseling services if needed.
The district will not have to make up any missed days, so the school year calendar will remain as scheduled.
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