Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Recognizing Mental Health Issues in Children

Posted by Rachael Ballard Filed under: Bullying, Programs, Student Violence, Student Well-Being

According to a recent NPR Education article, one in five children in the U.S. suffers from a mental health condition and nearly 80 percent of those children do not receive the help they need. It is a known fact that there is a link between bullying and mental health issues such as depression and even suicide, but how do we bridge the gap and support our students?

There are many people in a child’s life that can help identify a mental health issue, yet there are reasons why red flags can go unseen. For instance, parents and family think of changed behavior as a phase, not a call for help and Social workers, counselors, school psychologists and special education teachers – all of which are trained to recognize and intervene with mental health issues – face overflowing caseloads, which can interfere with their ability to see the warning signs for mental illness or bullying. Nurses are also in a position to recognize problem behavior, too. When students frequently visit the nurse’s office, it may be a sign of anxiety or trouble at home and even a strategy to avoid bullying. However, just like many of the other school professionals, school nurses are outnumbered and may be too overwhelmed by their caseloads to pick up on the pattern.

Building-level administrators such as principals and district-level administrators are in the position to institute preventative programming, yet many are overwhelmed by day-to-day operations to implement something new. Luckily, PublicSchoolWORKS’ EmployeeSafe Suite helps streamline operations and PublicSchoolWORKS’ Student Bullying and Violence Prevention Program (SBVPP) equips administrators, teachers and students with the resources they need to better report and manage bullying.

Teachers see children on a daily basis so they must be trained on the warning signs. The SBVPP provides teachers training on positive youth development, as well as the warning signs and prevention techniques for bullying, student violence and teen dating violence. The program also provides online reporting tools, training courses for students to teach them the importance of reporting concerns, written plans, access to national hotlines, recurring reminders for administrators to promote the resources to students and staff, and more. To learn more about how your district can benefit from the SBVPP, contact us today.

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