For the publisher: I commend The Times editorial board for bringing attention to a serious problem in education – the mental well-being of our children, which was of concern before COVID-19.

The pandemic has only heightened our urgency. Virtually all students in Los Angeles County and beyond have experienced some level of trauma since March 2020.

These challenges force education officials to identify supports for students through social workers, school counselors and trauma support teams, supported by professional development to prepare staff to recognize the signs. danger.

As a social worker and mental health professional, I know we need to devote resources to recognizing and eliminating the stigma associated with trauma and mental health.

The Los Angeles County Office of Education is creating new programs that support student mental health. This week, I announced the appointment of a Head of Welfare and Support Services. The office is also expanding its Employee Assistance Services for Education program, which provides guidance to school employees.

Additionally, we have launched a Professional Development Series that provides educators with the tools to teach and foster socio-emotional learning skills. We have partnered with the LA County Public Health Department on a new program that is helping schools recover from the pandemic through grants to teachers, schools and districts.

Finally, our office continues to expand its community school model in partnership with the LA County Department of Mental Health. As your editorial so aptly points out, the well-being of our children depends on the support of the whole community.

Debra Duardo, Downey

The writer is director of the Los Angeles County Bureau of Education.