RIVERTON, Kans. — With school back in session, local districts are putting a focus on the mental health of students.

In Riverton, counselors say they usually see a spike in kids coming to their office the beginning of the school year. It’s often due to anxiety and depression they face as they transition from summer to school life. Officials say many mental health issues — including thoughts of suicide — have been amplified over the past few years. To help, the district partners with places like Spring River Mental Health for social and emotional assistance.

“It’s important, especially for this age of kids to stay in the moment and what’s happening right now. What do we need to focus on right now, what’s happening right now versus all the things we think can happen or might happen, and just being present in the moment, and working from there,” said Shannon Thomas, Riverton Middle School Counselor.

Thomas says one of the best things a student can do is talk about their problems with a friend or trusted adult — no matter how big or small the issue may be.