Youth Development News from OCM BOCES Instructional Support

July 2016


ImageWhy is Mental Health so Important in Schools?
School-based and school-linked programs have been developed for purposes of early intervention, crisis intervention and prevention, treatment, and promotion of positive social and emotional development. And, available research suggests that for some youngsters schools are the main providers of mental health services. As Burns and her colleagues report from the study of children's utilization of MH services in western North Carolina, "the major player in the de facto system of care was the education sector – more than three-fourths of children receiving mental health services were seen in the education sector, and for many this was the sole source of care."

Clearly, enhancing mental health in schools in comprehensive ways is not an easy task. Indeed, it is likely to remain an insurmountable task until school reformers accept the reality that such activity is essential and does not represent an agenda separate from a school's instructional mission. For this to happen, we must encourage them to view the difficulty of raising achievement test scores through the complementary lenses of addressing barriers to learning and promoting healthy development. When this is done, it is more likely that mental health in schools will be understood as essential to addressing barriers to learning and not as an agenda separate from a school's instructional mission.

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After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC)

“This resource includes an overview of key considerations, general guidelines for action, do’s and don’ts, templates, and sample materials, all in an easily accessible format applicable to diverse populations and communities. Principles that have guided the development of the toolkit include the following:

  • Schools should strive to treat all student deaths in the same way. Having one approach for a student who dies of cancer (for example) and another for a student who dies by suicide reinforces the unfortunate stigma that still surrounds suicide and may be deeply and unfairly painful to the deceased student’s family and close friends.
  • At the same time, schools should be aware that adolescents are vulnerable to the risk of suicide contagion. It is important not to inadvertently simplify, glamorize, or romanticize the student or his/her death.
  • Schools should emphasize that the student who died by suicide was likely struggling with a mental disorder, such as depression or anxiety, that can cause substantial psychological pain but may not have been apparent to others (or that may have shown as behavior problems or substance abuse).
  • Help is available for any student who may be struggling with mental health issues or suicidal feelings.”

“Specific areas addressed in the toolkit are listed below:

  • Bringing in Outside Help
  • Crisis Response
  • Going Forward
  • Helping Students Cope
  • Memorialization
  • Social Media
  • Suicide Contagion
  • Working with the Community

TED Talk to spark your creativity

  • Tim Brown: Find out the role of trust in creativity and play
    Watch here
  • This scientist makes ears out of apples
    Watch here

Summer Professional Development for Social Workers

View & register here

Strategies for De-escalating & Diffusing Challenging Student Behavior
Dr. David Karam will lead this workshop that will focus on a variety of strategies designed to help educators deescalate pre-crisis level student behavior. Participants will learn: how trauma affects behavior, specific behavior support techniques, ways to avoid the conflict cycle and how to match intervention to student need.

Wed, Jul 13 - 8:30am-3:30pm cost $150.00
Register here

Nature, Nurture and Neurons: Can our brains & even our DNA be conciously changed?
Janna Keefe will teach this course on what happens in the brain when we have new experiences and thoughts and discuss how this information can be used clinically. Additionally we will explore epigenetics, what it is, how it works, and why it is relevant to the profession of social workers and the lives of their clients.

Thu, July 28 - 8:30am-3:30pm cost $150.00
Register here

Understanding the Family Life Cycle
Christine Alencewicz will discuss issues and challenges of each of the six stages of the family life cycles. This includes: Single Adult leaving home, the New Couple, Families with Young Children, Families with Adolescents, Launching Children and Moving On, and Families Later in Life. Each stage has a significant impact on the family system and awareness of these issues and challenges can facilitate understanding and communication.

Tue, August 2 - 8:30am-3:30pm cost $150.00
Register here

For more information about OCM BOCES’ Health and Wellness School Services CoSer or School Health & Wellness Kits, contact Penny Williams at 433-2609.

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