Classroom Countdown: Horry County Schools increases mental health resources for students


CONWAY, SC – (WBTW) There will be a rehabilitative behavior health staff member in every Horry County School this upcoming school year. 

The district has 86 RBH staff members, more than half of the staff has a Master’s Degree and several have clinical experience. These specialists are Horry County School employees and work in addition to guidance counselors on campus.

The rehabilitative behavior health staff can helps students with a variety of difficulties like family issues, grief or anger management.

News13 spoke with Gretchen Smith, she has worked in student behavior health at Horry County Schools for 16 years and says the issues students face in modern society are more intense than they were 30 years ago.

Smith says technology and social media has played a large role in the evolution of student mental health.

“It has made a difference in how people interact with each other and how children are learning to handle their problems and learning how to deal with anything in life, stressors whether they are positive or negative,” Smith says.

Smith tells News13, all rehabilitative behavior health staff members are trained in suicide prevention and the school district has a protocol in place when a student feels suicidal. She says RBH staff members work in a team to ensure the student is safe and they take every mention of suicidal thoughts seriously.

The goal-oriented rehabilitative behavior health programs are free and available to all students.

“If a child has so much going on in their minds, in their hearts, in their souls that they can’t focus,” Smith says. “If they don’t have anywhere they can lay that, or know they can deal with it, or they are learning how to deal with it in a more healthy way, they are not going to be able to focus.”

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