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San Francisco Unified School District students and their families will now be eligible to receive mental health resources provided by the city as schools remain closed, Mayor London Breed announced Friday.

With schools closed for more than 10 months now due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Breed said the services are urgently needed to help students and their families cope with complex issues like self-esteem, stress, depression, and bullying.

Students and families will be eligible for services through an expansion of the city’s Mobile Response Team, which provides personalized mental health and wellnesses services for children and youth referred to the program, including in-person interventions.

Breed said in a statement:

“For all of us, this has been a hard year on our mental health. But for young people who were already dealing with a lot of stress and mental health challenges before the pandemic, this year has been especially challenging.”

Jesse Garnier/SFBay A sign of pandemic times and shuttered schools: Tents and cardboard boxes are seen on the front steps of Everett Middle School in San Francisco, Calif. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

She said:

“Students have been without the support systems that they normally get at school, and while there have been mental health resources available online, we know that some situations require an in-person response. With this expansion, the school district now has another tool at their disposal to help students and their families, and the city stands ready to help however we can to safely reopen our schools to provide the education that our students deserve.”

The MRT is operated by the organization Seneca Family of Agencies and provides a range of services to kids and youth referred to the program, including crisis prevention, counseling, and help finding long-term care.

Since the pandemic began back in March 2020, SFUSD has made 118,000 wellness check calls, and of the families reached about one in four reported to be struggling with either mental health issues or finances.

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