MARSHVILLE, N.C. — This past year has taken a toll on our mental health. During the coronavirus pandemic, the National Institutes of Health says symptoms of anxiety disorder and depressive disorder increased considerably from April to June 2020. 

What You Need To Know

  • Two Union County high schools are part of a pilot program adding a Counseling and Mental Health class to their curriculum

  • The class is broken up into two parts. Part one focuses on mental health, trauma relationships, diversity, dating/dating violence and family cycles with a focus on social and emotional learning. Part two provides information on career options in the mental health field

  • More UCPS schools are adding the class for the upcoming school year after leaders saw success in the 2020-21 school year


One North Carolina school system is trying to help teenagers learn healthy coping habits to try and better their mental health.

Forest Hills High School and Monroe High School in Union County are part of a pilot program, adding a Counseling and Mental Health class. 

Anna Warren teaches the class at Forest Hills High School, and says the class is broken up into two semesters, mental health awareness and then career options in the mental health field. 

Warren says in the first semester, students learned topics including the signs and symptoms of trauma, mental health disorders and coping mechanisms. 

“They themselves could actually be harming the situation instead of helping it. I’ve seen them grow and become more aware of how they present themselves and how they act,” Warren says.

Warren says after a challenging 2020, she’s already seen a big difference in the students and how they talk about the sensitive subjects. 

“They can tell their parents ‘No mom, my teacher says this is totally normal, and this is what it’s called, and this is what we can do to help,'” Warren says. “I think that spreading that awareness and letting people in general know that they’re not alone in what they’re feeling and what they’re going through, it’s super important.”

The school district says the program is being added to most Union County high schools for the upcoming school year.