Solutionaries: Helping kids in crisis, solving hot debate over book bans

Solutions journalism aims to find real answers to today’s problems

ORLANDO, Fla.Solutionaries is a show that examines complicated issues and spotlights the people working to solve them.

Amid a national crisis in youth mental health, experts are working to understand why children are struggling and how society can best help them.

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Hospital emergency rooms have become the front lines for young people battling symptoms of mental illness, but a new study shows children often don’t get professional help after they leave.

CBS correspondent Stephen Stock and his team visited the front lines where medical staff, parents and kids are dealing with what is a destructive cycle.

Note: This story contains frank conversations about the mental health crisis, including suicide.

If you or someone you love is in crisis, please reach out to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

A solution in Central Florida

The shortage of mental health specialists is an issue across the U.S., including here in Florida.

At the University of Central Florida, the next generation of school psychologists has just finished up their first semester of a program called Project Central.

Students here can earn a master’s degree and a graduate certificate in the field for little to no cost thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

The UCF College of Community Innovation and Education (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

“Historically, this program used to be focused just on special education teachers,” said Dena Slanda, a research associate in the School of Teacher Education. “Now, being able to prepare both special educators and school psychologists is really the critical piece moving forward.”

At the same time, these scholars are working in local school districts — providing a more immediate solution for kids in crisis.

Learn more by tapping here.

Food’s out for summer

Millions of students in the U.S. rely on free school meals to stay healthy which means summer break can be the hungriest time of year for kids.

That need is what inspired a Texas school district to find a solution — to reopen its cafeteria and make sure every child is served a hot delicious meal.

Max Massey with News 6 sister station KSAT found out why the San Antonio district takes great pride in its summer food program.

Book ban controversy

With children out of school, local libraries are getting busy.

At the same time, Florida is at the center of a hot debate over whether certain books should be banned in schools and even public libraries.

Here’s the question: Who should decide what’s appropriate for children?

Investigator Erik Sandoval went looking for a solution.

Read more about the issue here.

How you can help

If you want to suggest a topic to feature in an upcoming episode, go to

Solutionaries highlights the creative people in communities working to make the world a better place, one solution at a time.

A new episode of Solutionaries is available every Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. on News 6 and on News 6+ for your smart TV (Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Google TV).

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About the Author:

Katrina Scales is a producer for the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m. She also writes and voices the podcast Your Florida Daily. Katrina was born and raised in Brevard County and started her journalism career in radio before joining News 6 in June 2021.