Recently I had the opportunity to be trained in the mental health literacy GO TO training workshop with more than 50 staff members from Prairie Rose School Division. This is the first direct training strategy related to the PRSD8 Wellness Wildly Important Goal.
What is a GO TO person? This is a staff member whom students naturally go to for help in the school setting. With this recent training, they bring a higher level of mental health knowledge to the school setting and as a result are able to link students in need to appropriate in school supports. These trained individuals are also able to provide on-going support to the student as part of the in school team. These individuals are not counsellors or therapists and do NOT diagnose mental health disorders. These staff are more able to describe behaviors they see in students that may be of considerable help to a health care professional.
Did you know that 70% of all mental disorders are diagnosed between the ages of 12 -25? Schools are in an important position to be able to help identify and refer students who may be struggling with mental wellness. Early identification and provision of best evidence treatments and social and educational support can substantially improve outcomes.
The most common mental health disorder is anxiety. The “Our School” survey the past few years confirms this in PRSD8. Anxiety has been diagnosed in about 13% of the population between the ages of 9-17. Other disorders were carefully reviewed with staff including a brain-based approach and some basic questions to assist with collecting important observations to be shared upon referral.
The next step is Mental Health Literacy CURRICULUM training which will take place on May 22, 2017. This session will include specific lessons to be shared with junior and senior high school students in our classrooms. I have had a sneak peek as the resources, they are excellent. I believe this will be a natural next step compared to the PRSD8 self-help wellness model. The learning can be applied to self, family and friends, a very universal strategy for those receiving this valuable information. With “Everyone Learning Together” we can all make a difference supporting those in need and preventing what has become epidemic in the complex world we live in.