With US aid money, schools put bigger focus on mental health

By CAROLYN THOMPSON and HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH of The Associated Press and KALYN BELSHA of Chalkbeat Chalkbeat and Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Schools across the U.S. are using portions of the windfall of federal coronavirus relief money to quickly expand their capacity to address students' struggles with mental health.

While school districts have broad latitude on how to spend the aid money, the urgency of the problem has been driven home by absenteeism, behavioral issues, and quieter signs of distress as many students have returned to full school buildings this fall for the first time since the pandemic hit.

All told, the investments put public schools more than ever at the center of efforts to attend to students' overall well being.

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