Every staff member at Indian Lake Schools is now certified in Mental Health First Aid, following a recent training session offered to more than 230 staff and community members by the Ohio Mental Health Network for School Success, the Ohio Department of Education, Miami University and Ohio State University.
Indian Lake Interim Superintendent Rob Underwood felt the training was essential for staff be able to support student health and wellness.
“We know that education is much more than academics. It encompasses student growth in all areas. Mental Health First Aid is vital to helping all staff members recognize the signs of mental or emotional distress and it enables us to support students as they work through difficulties.
“All teachers and support staff were trained because it takes an entire community effort to encourage positive mental well-being.”
State Board of Education member Linda Haycock took part in the training alongside Indian Lake staff members. She said the state board has been working the last six months to develop a strategic plan to address the social, emotional and mental health needs of students.
Haycock said she was grateful to attend this intense training.
“It went beyond the identification of different mental health situations, put you in an active role to go forward, identify problems and really help.”
Trainers from all corners of the state spent eight hours working to help participants identify a variety of mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders and signs of suicide.
They also facilitated activities to help staff members learn direct questions to ask including, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” and helped participants learn about resources available to provide treatment for students who need mental health services.
Local mental health advocate and member of the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services Board of Logan and Champaign Counties Steve Terrill coordinated the event for Indian Lake Schools.