Henderson County Public Schools offers expanded mental health training to community

Press release from Henderson County Public Schools:

Through a state “Community Partners Safety Grant” secured by HCPS, district student services staff are offering Youth Mental Health First Aid USA (YMHFA) and Trauma-Sensitive Schools (TSS) training to community members for the second year in a row and will be expanding its reach and impact. The four trainings will take place on Saturdays in February, March and April.

Last April, HCPS offered YMHFA and TSS training to more than 200 local PreK-5 professionals including district staff and individuals from partner organizations. Offered exclusively to HCPS staff in the past, these trainings were the first of their kind offered to community PreK-5 allies, in an effort to holistically support the social and emotional learning of the youth of our region.

“The community trainings were so well-received last year by our K-5 staff and pre-school/elementary school partners, this year’s program has been expanded to include all K-12 school personnel, Pre K-12 parents, and the entire landscape of community agencies who help to develop our young people and keep them safe in the midst of the current behavioral health crisis,” says Matt Gruebmeyer, HCPS Director of Student Services.

The first YMHFA session takes place Saturday, Feb. 1, with a TSS training to follow on Saturday, Feb. 22. The second YMHFA session is Saturday, March 7, and the second TSS training is Saturday, April 4. School staff, clergy, government leaders, healthcare professionals, first responders, local camp leaders and members of other organizations who work with Pre K-12 children and/or their families are welcome to register for the trainings.

Designed by the National Council for Behavioral Health for school staff, family members, health and human services workers, and other child caregivers, YMHFA helps participants recognize, understand and support young people, co-workers, family, and friends facing a behavioral health concern or crisis. With a focus on common conditions such as ADHD, Anxiety and Depression Disorders, Substance Abuse and Suicide, participants in YMHFA training learn to see related signs, symptoms, and risk factors; protect students by establishing safe spaces and positive relationships; and intervene to help keep students, their families, and others safe.

TSS teaches educators and others to realize the impact of adverse childhood experiences on youth development, to recognize trauma’s impact on learning and behavior, and to respond by building resilience and avoiding re-traumatization. Like YMHFA, TSS training is meant to ensure that students and children impacted by trauma or mental illness can learn and be successful in school, at work, in their relationships, and when engaged in their daily activities. TSS trained staff are provided with skills to support and nurture children socially, emotionally, and educationally, and will teach children to become more resilient, regulated, and connected to their families, schools, and community.

Thanks to grant funds from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, registered participants will attend the Saturday trainings at no cost.

Individuals in Henderson County who work with children or youth (Pre K-12), their families (or with those who do) may register for the upcoming trainings. Space is limited, so register and get training times and locations by contacting Matt Gruebmeyer, HCPS Director of Student Services, at 828-697-4733 or mwgruebmeyer@hcpsnc.org.

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