The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. To change the way we approach and talk about mental wellness, we need to connect with schools and enable the youth of the community to talk openly about mental wellness.
Through the initiative, schools help educate and open lines of communication not only with mental health professionals but with their own peers and families.
Changing the approach to mental wellness is not accomplished overnight. Schools within the community are vital to laying the foundation for long-term growth, change, and acceptance.
Within the first year of providing support in the schools in our own community, we were able to serve 600 students within our buildings. We’ve seen 56% of the students who received support increased their GPA and 73% of those students decreased their disciplinary infractions.
We compiled all of our findings and resources to help other schools or school leaders develop their own plan for addressing mental wellness in school. We want to share what we’ve learned to use in your own initiative plans.
Start by looking at what the student needs are, collecting data, doing some type of survey and following that with a group talk about what resources you have access to, and what partnerships you need to strengthen or put in place.
Through the journey in mental wellness within the schools, we had been frustrated that not many parents show up to our mental health parent nights. We decided to bring mental health specialists to events where families can learn about the services available to their children in a very non-threatening way. Create safe spaces and learning opportunities to engage the community where they are to make them more comfortable and receptive of your message.
When you face a challenge or problem, reach out to other mental wellness agencies and organizations and talk through those problems and make those connections. The organizations we approached have been really willing to work with us and provide the support to our students.
We have heard so many positive responses for these efforts, I hear from parents all the time and it's so refreshing that people are understanding of the mental health issues that my student is struggling with and there is someone there to support.