HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – The Cabell County School District held a three-day summit for teachers that started Tuesday and one topic of discussion was mental health. 

This comes after the mental health of many students declined throughout COVID-19.

Discussions included the importance of building relationships and providing a comfortable environment. The summit also went into detail on what students may be experiencing and what teachers can do in various situations.

Officials with the school board say this summit is just one step the county has taken.

“We have over 10 social workers that we’ve hired within the school system, we have counselors at every school even in our elementary now,” explained the Deputy Superintendent for Cabell County, Kelly Watts.

One teacher says throughout the school year, she has watched student’s mental health decline firsthand.

“I had a number of students that showed higher anxiety rates just in the classroom like not being able to handle being around a lot of kids again, having issues with noises, the number of people,” explained Jaime Layne, a 5th grade teacher in Cabell County.

Layne also said she hopes this summit will provide insight on how to handle student’s mental health as well as providing mental health tips for teachers.

“I noticed that I dealt with it, more anxiety and things after COVID, so tools for myself and tools that I can give to students in my classroom,” explained Layne.

Organizers for the event say in addition to teachers learning about the mental health of students, she hopes this helps them mentally as well.

“Those two years have required a lot of our teachers. So, to let them be here, to reenergize, to laugh together, maybe even to cry together, I think is a really important thing,” said Ashley Stephens, the family and community engagement coordinator for Cabell County.