Campaign launches to teach students healthy coping skills

Campaign launches to teach students healthy coping skills

Experts say many students are turning to marijuana as a way to cope but a new campaign launched to teach them healthy coping skills.

ROSWELL, N.M. — Experts say many students are turning to marijuana to cope with anxiety, depression and having to go to school right after the pandemic.

The City of Roswell is trying to raise awareness with its “Be There for a Kid” campaign.

“The purpose was to raise awareness among Chaves County adults about the fact that weed or cannabis, marijuana – whatever you want to call it, is still not safe. It’s not even medically safe for children. Adults have the power to make a difference in a child’s life about how they deal with today’s stresses,” said Kimberly Rutley, the prevention coordinator at La Casa Behavioral Health.

La Casa Behavioral Health received funding from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Administration. The funds are intended for programs aimed at reducing substance abuse.

“We had to select two substances to priority substances. We start with the data. The data indicated that the most abused substances among Chaves County youth were alcohol and marijuana. That is why we built this ‘Be There For a Kid’ campaign,” Rutley said.

Chaves County has seen an uptick in kids using marijuana after the pandemic to cope with anxiety, stress and depression.

Rutley says marijuana ends up hurting more than it helps. She added that kids are more inclined to use it if they see a parent using it.

“Use safe storage techniques, lock it away. Don’t leave it out for kids to use even a vape pen. Put it away where they can’t find it,” she stressed.

But, how do you “be there for a kid?”

“Honestly, take a little bit of time, listen to them. Don’t make judgments about what your child is saying because you have, in your mind, what you think they should be doing. Remember that they’re kids, they’re learning,” Rutley said.

If you would like to learn more about healthy coping skills, click here.