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Mattie Rhodes Center offering mental health services following Texas shooting

Posted at 6:24 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:24:37-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — A Kansas City, Missouri, nonprofit is being sought out by teachers and students to help them cope with the trauma they're feeling following the fatal Texas shooting.

The Mattie Rhodes Center offers mental health services free of charge, Angela Florez works at the center and is a school coordinator at James Elementary.

Florez explained this latest mass shooting caused many students and staff at her school to seek help from the center.

“I think when something like this, you don't want to speed grief, you want to definitely process and take everything,” Florez said. “You don't want to just go ahead and rush it because those emotions will still stay there."

It comes at a time when services provided by Mattie Rhodes are being stretched thin.

The nonprofit told KSHB 41 it's seen an increase in demand from mental health services following COVID-19.

Social workers and therapists are seeing up to 18 children at a time and have wait lists of students wanting to further seek help.

This comes as they continue to help other students who were at Northeast Middle School when a fatal stabbing took place.

“It definitely heightened the entire community, not just a school committee, but the entire community of Kansas City,” Florez said. “Just to question you know, the safety precautions, to know what was going on what was the motive? And our agency definitely responded because we are neighbors to that school.”

Florez says students at Northeast Middle School will further be supported throughout the summer months.

“That's our community, a local school that we've served and having different clinicians go into the school to work individually, to have support groups for coping skills grievance with the teachers and to process a lot of those feelings,” Florez said.

Florez says families can also be proactive and help their children cope with this recent shooting.

She explained it’s important to talk to your children and make sure their questions are being answered and monitor and limit their social media use.

“We want to ensure that when parents drop off these kids that they are safe, that is our responsibility is to keep them safe, educate and to provide that advocacy that voice for them,” Florez said. “A lot of the kids have questions, it's a tough world and we all have to kind of stick together.”