MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH: MAKING STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which this year coincides with students returning to their classrooms after so much time away from teachers, friends and support systems that normally contribute to their mental health and well-being.
“Many school leaders will tell you, with schools reopening, their top priority right now isn’t math or reading—it is kids’ mental health because this year has been stressful for so many children and traumatic for some,” noted a recent report on National Public Radio (NPR) titled “How schools can help kids heal after a year of ‘crisis and uncertainty’.”
At California Schools JPA, we recognize our members’ deep commitment to helping their students with mental health and well-being issues. One example is Kevin Palkki, Crafton Hills College and CSEBA Executive Committee member. He has been focusing on the mental health of his students throughout the pandemic:
““Students are feeling the hardships of not being in-person. One thing we try to do at the very beginning of virtual class is to have that real-to-real moment and talk about how we’re feeling. I ask questions like: Did you connect with somebody today? Are you missing your friends? Have you seen your grandparents lately? That creates a safe space where people can share. And then, once we’ve all connected, we’ll get into the “what do we actually need to learn today?
When we first started, there was a little bit of a barrier. So, I shared my own struggles and when I shared, some people would start to jump in. As the cohort stayed together, they started to really talk to each other.”
MORE MENTAL HEALTH NEWS AND RESOURCES
California report focuses on importance of mental health
The article “Mental health, equity should be schools’ focus as students return,” in EdSource highlights a new report titled “Reimagine and Rebuild: Restarting school with equity at the center,” co-published by Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and many others, including the California PTA, the California Teachers Association and the Association for California School Administrators.
Resources from the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness of California
The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI) of California website features the section “Impact on the mental health of students during COVID-19” with articles, study results and resources regarding the mental health impact on students, support for parents and students, and NAMI resources.
California Schools JPA mental health blogs and resources
Mental health support available 24/7 with Health Advocate EAP
CSEBA gives you easily accessible mental health and well-being resources
California Schools JPA Mental Health Partners and Resources