HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT)- As the first day of school for many students in Kentucky approaches, teachers and staff have been busy preparing for the new school year, including school counselors. Some counselors are taking a new approach this year to better connect with their students.

Adam Lynch, a Lafayette Senior High School Mental health specialist, wears a t-shirt and jeans in an effort to look more like the students that he helps. He says that when he looks like them, they tend to open up to him more.

Lynch’s role as a mental health specialist has only been around in Kentucky for a few years, but as the program grows, every new year becomes a chance to try new approaches to helping students. Lynch says that one of the area his team has been working hard on is streamlining the process so that teachers know the best way to reach out to counselors.

Having multiple ways for students to reach out to their mental health counselors has been a big effort, so expanding access to students including QR codes to request assistance and hiring more counselors has been a focus for the upcoming year.

“Just having more practitioners gives us more bandwidth. Feel like I and my colleagues have more room to do things like small skills group,” says Lynch. “I really enjoy putting together and working on an anxiety group. I know another one of my co-workers is looking into creating a mindfulness group or meditation group.” These small skills groups are designed to not only help students, but make the counselor’s jobs easier as well.