Sacramento City Unified Launches New Mental Health Wellness App for Students
Connects students to important tools and resources, at a time more challenging than ever
SACRAMENTO - Sacramento City Unified School District announced today the debut of a new Mental Health Wellness App for students. The app, called grace, stands for “Giving Resources and Care Everyday.” The wellness app was created by students, for students and connects users with school-based resources, local community resources, a virtual calming room, crisis support lines and more. The app can be found in the Apple and Android app stores, or at www.preparedapp.com/grace.
To support our students’ academic success, we also must address their social and emotional needs,” said Sac City Unified Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Many students have experienced extraordinary stress and trauma during the pandemic. We applaud the work of our student leaders who have developed and designed this app for their peers to help address the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. We are deeply grateful to the many students and staff who took their time to provide thoughtful feedback and guidance to ensure this app meets our students’ needs. Much gratitude to the Student Support & Health Services and the Prepared App teams for making this happen.”
The district debuted its new app during the first week of the district’s “May is Mental Health Awareness Month” celebration. During this month, the district promotes awareness about mental health and to destigmatize mental illness. Information can be found at www.scusd.edu/pod/may-mental-health-month.
“Mental health has been a huge challenge for Sac City Unified students for years, but it has been exacerbated in profound ways during the past year at home,” said Sac City Unified Student Board Member Isa Sheikh, who is also a senior at The Met. “With the release of the GRACE app, I hope that we are taking an important step towards destigmatizing mental health struggles, and making more accessible the services that students need.”
During COVID-19, mental health awareness and added opportunities for outreach has proven even more vital. During distance learning, the district supported 1,048 students/families with 1,903 mental health referrals to support their social and emotional wellbeing. The district recently announced it had been awarded a $2.5 million grant to expand support for students in at-risk areas.
“Our youth have told us loud and clear they don’t know where to turn if they’re struggling with their mental health. With the launch of the grace app, SCUSD will meet students where they are to connect them to the help they need,” said SCUSD Board Vice President Lisa Murawski.
In September, the district released a statistic from a recent California Healthy Kids Survey of SCUSD students which indicated that, on average, one in five SCUSD students had considered suicide in the past 12 months. The district encourages anyone considering suicide or who may know someone who needs help to reach out for support by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Students can call SCUSD’s warmline number at (916) 643-2333 or visit the district’s Suicide Prevention Page to find more resources.
Risk of suicide and increased mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge nationwide. Medical claim phone lines have reported spikes in children facing severe symptoms of mental health challenges, including the University of California San Francisco’s Benioff Children’s Hospital, which reported a 66 percent increase in the number of suicidal children in the emergency room and a 75% increase in youth who required hospitalization for mental health services.