As students venture back to school, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and local emergency managers are highlighting various resources to help the public make mental health a priority for students and teachers during these unprecedented times.
“When we think of school safety, we often think of violence or storm preparedness, but the mitigation measures associated with COVID-19 underscores the importance of mental health awareness,” said IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau. “Behavioral threat assessment teams are great resources to identify behavior and trends that can lead to early intervention, but when students are not in class more tools are needed to check on the wellbeing of our students.”
The Illinois Terrorism Task Force School Safety Working Group was created in 2018 to help improve safety in Illinois schools. Experts focus their efforts on providing practical and helpful recommendations for schools, including physical school improvements, policy suggestions, increasing mental health services and information sharing.
Students who are contemplating hurting themselves or others frequently give warning signs of their distress, such as not acting like they normally do, a loss of interest in things they used to enjoy, talking about feelings of hopelessness, being more reckless or isolating from family and friends.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recognizes that student wellbeing extends beyond learning and nutrition. To that end, the ISBE website features additional tools that can help provide care for mental/emotional wellbeing of our educators and our students.
The National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement has several resources specifically related to mental health and coping with the pandemic. These resources are specifically tailored for educators, school staff and parents.
The Illinois Department of Human Services also has a help line for residents who need emotional support during the COVID-19 pandemic. Illinoisans can text "TALK" to 55-2020 (or "HABLAR" for Spanish) for the Call4Calm service. The text line is free of charge and designed to support residents who are experiencing stress.
To learn more about how you can help a friend, student, parent or co-worker, visit ready.illinois.gov.
via HF Chronicle
August 23, 2020 at 07:34AM