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Mental health days in schools, becoming a therapist, and George Santos

Schools can give kids needed tools

My quotes require clarification of my views on whether providing mental health days for students is beneficial “Mulling mental health days for schoolkids,” News, Jan. 2].

These mental health days could have deleterious consequences, such as chronic absenteeism, while failing to identify and address the root of students’ mental health issues. They would also prevent students from accessing essential programs and professionals that schools provide to help them cope.

At Baldwin, we’ve increased the number of trained counselors, secured over $4 million in funding for wellness centers, initiated a high school mindfulness course, integrated mindfulness in middle school, and developed a yearlong curriculum for elementary schools. Each includes corollary resources for faculty and staff.

The goal is to give students tools to manage moments of crisis and future ones while empowering professionals to identify issues and offer necessary support.

Determining sources of problems is critical. If tests or assignments cause students’ distress, teachers can motto a solution.

Conflicts at home or social media interactions can spark depression and anxiety; school social workers, psychologists and guidance counselors can work with students and families.

Mental wellness programs and seamless access to trained mental health professionals in a supportive, collaborative community, not mental health days, is the effective, correct solution.

—Shari Camhi, Melville

The writer is superintendent of the Baldwin Union Free School District.

If readers believe that the surge in mental health issues among kids is related to parents who “coddle” them or “little Jimmy was not feeling well,” then maybe it’s the parents who could benefit the most from mental health counseling [“Mental health days? Flaw in the schools,” Letters, Jan. 4].

I somehow doubt that most suicidal inclinations are the product of weakness, immaturity or anything less than serious stressors, bullying or general hopelessness.

— Wendy G. Schack, East Williston

Becoming a therapist is quite arduous

My daughter completed a five-year college program to become a licensed social worker [“Here’s why teens can’t find therapists,” Letters, Jan. 4]. Now, she is halfway through working three years (3,000 hours) under a supervisor in private practice in Oceanside.

My daughter gets only $27 per session and has no benefits. This is insane. After she passes a certification test, she will earn $85 a session — if approved by insurance. She spends almost as much time documenting and fighting insurance companies as she does seeing clients.

She truly loves what she does, often working 9-9 and seeing 10 to 13 patients per day. She has pages of requests from referrals that she can’t fit in. Her heart breaks when she has to turn someone away. This needs to be addressed. No wonder there are not enough therapists. It’s outrageous.

—Colleen Moraghan, Cold Spring Harbor

A ‘leader’ shouldn’t give Santos a pass

I appreciate and agree with William FB O’Reilly’s comments that the GOP should give Rep.-elect George Santos “no quarter” for his egregious treatment of his constituents by his lies [“Santos deserves no quarter from GOP,” Opinion, Jan. 3]. But he has excused the purported future leader of the House GOP from doing so by giving him a pass, solely for the purpose of garnering Santos’ vote to attain that leadership role.

Wouldn’t he say more of such a leader if he stood up and condemned such blatant dishonesty, regardless of how it may affect his political future? I think if he did, those with integrity who are on the fence about Kevin McCarthy’s leadership abilities might change their mind and vote for him.

—Ruth Crystal, Baldwin

William FB O’Reilly’s words were off the mark. He claims incoming Rep. George Santos is “living proof that the misdeeds of one candidate can hurt the whole Party.” Is that really the case when our previous president told more than 30,000 lies and mistruths in four years and never seemed to raise the ire of his fellow Republicans? Why adjust the GOP moral code for Santos? Holding up one liar to great esteem and another to self-righteous ridicule is not OK. I suppose Santos doesn’t bring in enough Republican votes for the party to give him cover.

—Bob Bascelli, Seaford

William FB O’Reilly rightfully writes that Rep.-elect George Santos “deserves no quarter” from the GOP. However, deep into the column he offers the following: “Like so many on the political left, they sustain themselves on petty grievances.” He offers no example of this leftist behavior. Just a gratuitous put-down. And stop calling me a “Lib.”

Liberals such as I want to support those most in need. O’Reilly’s GOP — traditionalists and Trump supporters — enjoys supporting top dogs. Example: Trump’s biggest accomplishment was a huge tax cut for the rich.

—Robert D. Adams, Great Neck

Gen-Zer cites danger seating issue poses

At the Mineola rally on Dec. 29 protesting the seating of George Santos, I spoke to the impact that a lack of integrity in government would have on US prosperity [“Protesters: Santos must resign House,” News, Dec. 30]. But as a member of Gen Z (ages 11-26), still undergoing political socialization, I worry that this story could have even more detrimental consequences.

The reality is that such brazen corruption will erode public trust in elected officials. Such cynicism and negativity is dangerous. In 2016, former President Donald Trump exploited a frustrated American populace and established an administration that oversaw polarization.

We as a nation should strive to remove this toxicity from our political culture. The way to achieve this is to revive public trust in government institutions. Allowing Santos to take office is a step in the wrong direction. Only an ethics investigation and full accountability will help save public trust.

—Greg Leung, Great Neck

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