Students call into shooting mental health hotline, worried to return to school

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — New Hanover County set up a mental health helpline in response to Monday’s shooting. Since then, they’ve received countless calls from both parents and students.

According to licensed therapist, Leslie Wilder, parents should be on the lookout for any behavior out of the ordinary, like being withdrawn, asking to drop out, or being afraid of attending school.

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Students also called the helpline Tuesday, afraid to head back to classes, worried another shooting will happen.

Wilder believed it could take a long time for affected kids to feel safe in school again.

“I do think it’s going to be very hard,” Wilder explained. “I think it’s going to be on their minds. A lot of students that have called today are worried that the shooting could happen again. We’ve had students from other school districts even from Brunswick County that have called and are concerned something could happen like this in their school.”

The helpline closed at five Tuesday, though there are talks to extend it into the school year. County commissioners and the school board are hosting a meeting Friday to talk about school safety.