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Kingsport school counselors helping kids prevent long term problems

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Third grader Zymiria Horton has been working with Roosevelt Elementary Counselor Alice Browder for three years now.

Zymiria said she sometimes gets frustrated in class.

"I have a lot of breakdowns,” Zymiria said. “Sometimes you just lose it."

When she is having a rough day, Zymiria meets with Browder to fix whatever is wrong.

"You're calm, and you remember what Ms. Browder says, and then your whole day just turns around," Zymiria said.

Her mother, Jasmine Lewis, said she has seen her improve over the past few years.

"I've seen a lot of improvement with just the way that she goes about working as a group, with people, and working by herself," Lewis said.

Browder has a major role in helping identify and support children going through Adverse Childhood Experiences, also called ACEs, which range in severity.

"I have students whose families are going through divorce,” Browder said. “I have students who have family members in jail."

Helping students early boosts performance in the classroom. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, early treatment also can help prevent problems later in life, including substance abuse, long term illness and suicide.

"Early identification can help in developing coping skills and strategies and help children learn to handle all the things they are dealing with," Browder said.

Next year, Tennessee is mandating that all schools have counseling that includes academic, career, and emotional development help for students.

Kingsport school counselors are among those who already work to identify early signs of childhood adversity.

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