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PSA Aims to Inspire Hope in Berks County Students, Families, and Educators Returning to School

Screen capture from a PSA with a student looking out over a city and the caption "It's okay not to be okay"

READING, PA – The Berks County Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (MH/DD) Program, the United Way of Berks County, and the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) are partnering to assist students, families, and educators as they return to school following the lifting of the restrictions placed on our society during the COVID-19 pandemic. To inspire hope and acknowledge the mixed emotions surrounding this time, they have created a short public service announcement (PSA) video to ease the transition back for those who might be struggling with yet another change.

The goal of the PSA is to reflect the experiences of students and their families returning to school and lessen the feelings of anxiety they may be experiencing as they adjust to their new routines. It also presents the conflicting feelings and emotions they felt throughout the lockdown. The short video, originating as an idea from Reading School District social workers with full support from the 18 Berks County school districts, features students of varying ages sharing their experiences, how it has made them feel, and why “it’s okay to not be okay” during these times. Despite all that Berks County students, families, and educators have gone through to adjust to their new normal, the video shows resilience and how they are each overcoming adversity. The video, titled Back to School, to be released today, August 21, 2020, is available at berksiu.org/backtoschool2020 and will be shared by school districts and community organizations.

To support Berks County students, the video communicates local resources for those needing assistance during these unsettled times:

  • Call 211
  • Text the ruOK? Berks text line at 484-816-ruOK (7865)
  • Berks County SAM Crisis Line – 610-236-0530

Dr. Edward B. Michalik, Administrator of the MH/DD Program, said of the project, “This public service announcement is another tangible sign of the hard work and commitment of Berks County human service leaders and the educational community to ensure all of our young people and educational staff, teachers, and administrators are emotionally supported during this unprecedented time.”

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