On August 4, 2021, an estimated 900 educators were able to undergo Mental Health First Aid Training by The Center for Health Care Services Foundation (CHCS), which was held at 11 SAISD locations. “This groundbreaking skills-based course will provide SAISD teachers the tools to identify, understand and respond to someone who might be struggling with a mental health or substance use challenge and connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.”
Since the Pandemic, depression and anxiety have been on the rise, especially amongst our juventud, and fighting to break the stigma which surrounds mental health is a necessary process for our youth to reach out for help.
“There’s such a high prevalence of mental illness period. In children and adolescents, it’s growing,” states Crisis Training Specialist Nelly Dixon who was one of the instructors of this training at Burbank High School, “More people are speaking out about it. We want to make sure we’re all equipped to give sufficient care.”
Longtime veteran teacher of 27 years, Jeannine Campion of Burbank High School and Pep Squad Director sees the importance of this training, “I think that this training for mental health for teachers is very important because of the anxiety and depression students are feeling, not being in school for the past 18 months, and they are going to need a lot of support emotionally and socially before they can even start learning.”
First year English teacher Racquel Henderson agrees with how vital this work is, “I have a degree in Psychology, so I think mental health is actually really important to talk about, especially in school. Actually, I don’t think it’s talked about enough. It’s an issue that almost all students face and it’s something that we need to be informed about and be readily aware about so we can serve our students the best we can.”
“Mental Health First Aid training will help to break down the barriers and stigma of mental health, so that all of us can learn how to better support one another. Without mental health, there is no health,” stated Jelynne LeBlanc Burley, president and CEO of The Center for Health Care Services.
We hope more school districts will take the necessary steps to spread awareness and build a foundation for seeking help and what that help looks like.
For more information on Mental Health First Aid training in Bexar County, visit www.chcsf.org/mental-health-first-aid/ or contact Karen Coleman at 210-261-1114 or by email at MHFA@chcsbc.org.