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‘There’s a bigger need’: Borderland school counselor weighs in on mental health crisis

EL PASO, Texas -- Many experts are sounding the alarm about a mental health crisis in kids and teens. Not only are they grappling with another mass shooting, they've also had to deal with the pandemic for more than two years now.

A high school counselor told ABC-7 throughout the school year she's seen an increase in student asking for assistance for themselves and even their families.

"It's just really just dependent on what their family situation is," said Pat Villarreal, a counselor at San Elizario High School "Some of them have had loss, not only death, but even employment. There's just so many factors (they're) affected by."

Villarreal said she went from seeing about two to three students per week to as many as four or more a day. Many students have been dealing with stress and anxiety, most of which stems from the pandemic.

"It's hard to say like, is it getting worse, because there's a lot of people now knowing that there are so many avenues for them to go and get help," Villarreal said. "Maybe it's kind of a combination of both that there's a bigger need, but then (students are) also more open to receiving the help and asking for the help.

Just a few months ago, national experts raised concern declaring a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health.

Villarreal suggests asking your children open ended questions to get a sense of what's going on in your child's life.

For more tips, click here.

For a list of local and national resources, click here.

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.



  1. yes, lets coddle our youth and make them weaker than they already are. if you cant face issues as a child what makes you think you can deal with reality as an adult?

  2. Quit mollycoddling the little snowflakes. They need to be taught, learn, and accept that life is tough. There’s winners, losers, and hard times in life. Handing out participation trophies and kissing and putting band aids on their every owie does nothing for them. S u c k it up else your (And future) generations are gonna get your b u t t s kicked across the board in business, science, war, and everything else that matters by other more aggressive, compet i tive nations. Nations that play to WIN!

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