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Grants will aid school mental health

posted Oct 6, 2015, 12:47 PM by Terri Willms   [ updated Oct 6, 2015, 12:48 PM ]
Burke County Public Schools recently received two grants that will help fund mental health initiatives. One is a $25,000 grant from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to recommend a plan of action to improve mental and behavioral health services for youth and their families; another is from the American Psychiatric Foundation to train staff members on the warning signs of mental illness.
Through the Kate B. Reynolds grant, the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools, the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University, will assess mental and behavioral health services available for youth in Burke and McDowell counties. The plan of action may include recommendations on additional assessments, possible partnerships, mapping of assets and ways to use existing resources.   
"Typical or Troubled?" is a school mental health education program that will be used in all Burke County Public Schools middle and high schools. The program, funded by a $2,000 grant, will train teachers and other staff this fall on how to identify potential mental health problems and then refer students to mental health services, if needed. "Typical or Troubled?" trains school professionals to spot early warning signs and refer children who appear to be at risk. The goal is to identify and treat mental health problems before they emerge as substance abuse, depression or violence. 
The "Typical or Troubled?" name comes from a teacher who asked how to tell a "typical kid from a troubled one," and began as a response to the Columbine High School shooting. The program has been presented in over 2,100 schools nationwide. The curriculum educates school communities about mental health disorders that can affect teenagers including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and eating disorders. The curriculum teaches staff how to engage the student, communicate and discuss concerns they may have. 
Burke County Public Schools Superintendent Larry Putnam said, “We are excited about the opportunities both grants present. Our teachers, principals, counselors and other staff members interact with our students on a daily basis and can be the first to notice subtle changes in their behavior. Typical or Troubled? will better equip middle and high school staff members with tools that will help them see warning signs of mental illness if something is bothering a student. We look for great recommendations to come from the George Washington assessment and look forward to assisting with the fact-finding mission. We are grateful for and open to recommendations that will lead to better mental health services for our students.” 

Photo:  BCPS middle and high school counselors attend Typical or Troubled training. 

Public Relations Officer
Burke County Public Schools
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