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Worcester agency launches school COVID mental health initiative

February 2021

Open Sky Community Services and the Bridge Training Institute, a branch of the Worcester human service nonprofit, is starting a new virtual program Friday aimed at helping providers provide mental health services to area students.

The program, called Mental Health in Schools, includes continuing education workshops and personalized consultation services focused on evidence-based and best practice treatment models for schools to aid students during a turbulent time with the coronavirus pandemic. The program has a goal of supporting social emotional learning and overall student mental health, including individual development and school- and district-wide interventions.

Four training sessions are alternately designed for principals and administrators, teachers, guidance counselors and adjustment counselors.

Polls have shown rising depression and anxiety during the pandemic, though few studies yet have been published on underage students, many of whom are learning remotely from home at least part of the time. A survey late last spring by the American Civil Liberties Union in California found one-third of students who weren't receiving mental health services to feel they were in need of such services. Before the pandemic, 65% of students rated their mental health at seven or above on a 1-to-10 scale. In the early stages of the pandemic, that rate fell below 40%.

Register at http://www.thebridgetraininginstitute.org/series/school-mental-health-part-one-district-and-school-wide-social-emotional-learning-implementation-strategies/

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