Chesapeake school psychologist offers advice during School Psychology Awareness Week

Posted at 5:31 PM, Nov 12, 2020

CHESAPEAKE, Va. – November 9-13 is national School Psychology Awareness Week.

This year’s theme is “The Power of Possibility,” which conveys hope, growth, resilience and renewal.

Tawana Fortune has been a school psychologist for 32 years and is the chairperson for the Office of Psychological Services for Chesapeake Public Schools. She told News 3 that COVID-19 has pushed mental health to the forefront.

Fortune talked about how students are adapting to a new routine and new expectations for social instructions. She added that it’s normal for kids to have a range of emotions.

“The one thing I would suggest is that you live in the moment. That you move through the moments and actually feel the feeling. If there’s a level of sadness, then speak to the sadness… talk to your parents or talk to your teacher,” recommended Fortune.

She also pointed out that children are observant and are looking at the parents, grandparents and teachers for guidance.

“We have to know that the adults in our lives are the most important because our kids mimic how we are resilient as adults.”

Related: Teens' mental health continues to be a concern amid pandemic

Students should be reassured that we’re all in this together. As for special occasions and holidays, Fortune says don’t dismiss them just because you may not be able to get together in a normal setting.

“I think being creative and incorporating your friends and family in those moments is still very, very important,” explained Fortune. “We are social beings and we love to connect, and we need to socialize. So, let’s not discredit the moment. Let’s highlight the moment even more than what we would if we were on a face-to-face level.”