It has been reported that one in five children suffer mental health disorders in the U.S. The mental disorders may range from ADHD to suicidal tendencies. Most schools do not have well trained or sufficient staff to identify these problems and to work them out. Here is what should be the ideal way to deal with promoting students’ mental growth in a healthy manner. Among many models, the multi-tiered system of supports which is like an inverted pyramid is of significance. The funnel like model offers support for everyone in general and then moves towards specialized and specific help to suit individual requirement.
The village model is a collective mission to create an environment that focuses on general well being to promote mental health. Amanda Aiken, Senior Director of Schools at New Orleans College Prep was a principal at one of their schools. As Principal she ensured that when the students arrived, staff would always be present at the entrances to greet them by shaking hands. At times, handshakes were even replaced by hugs. Luckily this practice was continued as a tradition by her successor. The students at this school are from a more challenging background and stand a higher risk of health problems. The children have suffered unpleasant neighborhoods, family problems and poverty.
A trauma informed school is one where all staff is trained to work with and identify students going through traumatic experiences. They follow a social emotional curriculum which includes yoga sessions after school that aims at lowering detentions through restorative justice. Schools have realized the limitations of teachers in this aspect. They may be able to identify traumatized students, but at a certain level will require professionals to deal with the students. Often schools hire a certified student counselor who is experienced and most suited to the role. They are also in a position to interact with students and to recommend clinical therapy if necessary.
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