Wellness coordinator suggests resources for everyday coping, urgent help during youth mental health crisis

Emily Phuong Tran, Co-Feature Editor

Transitioning back to in-person learning hasn’t been as great or easy as anyone would hope for. A crisis in youth mental health intensified during the pandemic, but studies have shown that returning to school has turned the dire situation for the worst.  

On Dec. 7, 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy – the leading spokesperson on matters of public health in the federal government of the United States  – issued an advisory calling attention to the mental health challenges youth face due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, backed up by a declaration of a national emergency in child and adolescent mental health by a coalition of health professionals, including the Academy of Pediatrics. Nationwide, this crisis has led to schools seeing students behaving violently towards themselves and others, acting with aggression as they fall behind academically and developmentally. 

“The situation isn’t any different at Tualatin,” said Kathy Wilson-Fey, Tigard-Tualatin’s Mental Health & Wellness Coordinator. “The number of referrals to TTSD Care Coordination, a service that helps families find mental health services in the community, has increased compared to pre-pandemic years, and is on pace to surpass the previous year’s totals.”  

She also cites more requests for services from Washington County Crisis Team and Hawthorn Walk-In Center, where staff provide urgent care for mental health and substance abuse for the entire county. School counselors for the Tigard-Tualatin School District have reported the same situation to her. 

Wilson-Fey advises the following to students: 

  • Stay connected to others.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Move and nourish your body.
  • Learn what works for you to cope with stress. One thing to try is quieting your mind for a short time each day.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Your school counselor has many skills – and understands ways to stay mentally healthy and help you decide if you need more help. Have real conversations with the people in your life you can share real stuff with.

In terms of resources, Wilson-Fey offers the following: 

Resources for everyday coping 

You do not need to be in crisis to connect–these are warmlines instead of hotlines:


Your School Counselor

Article: Making Mental Wellbeing a Priority

Toolkit: 100 Free Coping Strategies


YouthLine. For teen-to-teen support.

Call 877-968-8491

Text teen2teen to 839-863

Chat Online


NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness Oregon Helpline. For support from people who have experienced and understand mental health issues. Available Mon-Fri 9a – 5p

Call 503-230-8009

Call 800-343-6264 toll free


Resources for everyday coping and for urgent help and referral for mental health challenges:

Free Crisis Text Line. Text for help if you or someone you love needs support. A trained crisis counselor will text back 24/7.

Text OREGON to 741741


Washington County Crisis & Consultation Line. For help assessing behavioral health needs, support and safety planning, and referrals to local resources and treatment. 

Call 503-291-9111


Racial Equality Support Line. A peer support line for individuals and families mentally and emotionally impacted by racism.

Call 503-575-3764


The Trevor Project. Life-saving community programs and services for LGBTQIA+ youth.

Call 866-488-7386

Text START to 678-678

Chat Online


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. For help with thoughts of suicide.

Call 800-273-8255