Two school psychologists at two of Oregon’s largest school districts reached out to KGW for National School Psychology week, which is taking place Nov. 8-12.

They not only wanted to raise awareness of what they do, but they also shared what they’ve been seeing in schools this year: more kids needing mental health help.

The school year started with a mix of emotions. Coming off isolation from the pandemic, some parents, kids and teachers felt excited about the return of in-person learning; Others were anxious. School psychologists say all the instability associated with the pandemic has contributed to a difficult environment.

“This year just feels harder than last year,” said Karley Strouse, a bilingual school psychologist for Salem-Keizer Public Schools as well as the president-elect of the Oregon School Psychologists Association.

“I’m seeing an uptick in the need for behavior support plans for students,” Calley Ekberg said. Ekberg is a school psychologist in the Portland Public School District and is the current president of the Oregon School Psychologists Association.