The College of Education & Human Development (CEHD) School Safety and Mental Health Services and Supports Consortium
The faculty and staff of CEHD are committed to supporting our K-12 schools. Students are coming to school with more socioemotional needs, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent racial strife in this country.
As a result, CEHD faculty have created a School Safety and Mental Health Services and Supports Consortium to offer various intervention supports to K-12 schools in the metro Atlanta area. The services we offer are grounded in the Attachment, Regulation and Competency (ARC) framework and its core domains, including building safe and caregiving school systems, emotional regulation and resiliency development.
Below is a description of the interventions provided by the consortium:
PREPaRE Training Curriculum:
PREPaRE trains school-employed mental health professionals and other educators to best fill the roles and responsibilities generated by their membership on school crisis response teams. PREPaRE is the only comprehensive, nationally available training curriculum developed by educators (each of whom has firsthand school crisis response experience and formal training) for educators. With increasing concerns regarding school and community violence, this curriculum provides school staff with evidence-based tools to implement school safety strategies. For more information about the PREPaRE Training Curriculum, contact Dr. Chavez Phelps.
ASIST Training (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training):
ASIST is a 14-hour standardized, manualized, and evidence-based intervention equipping school personnel to do “suicide first aid” when a youngster needs it the most. Participants learn 6 SIM components to reduce lethality and effectively work with ambivalence about dying. There is no research support that contracting for safety is helpful in risk reduction, however, ASIST equips school personnel to co-develop mutually agreed upon safety plans that save lives. We know we need programming in school systems at 3 levels: prevention, intervention, and postvention. When programing is put in at all 3 levels, suicide losses go down, and when programming is taken out at one of these levels suicide goes back up. Intervention training is the training that is most often left out of school systems. While ASIST is the gold standard in suicide intervention, adopted by branches of the US Armed Forces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, etc. its primary contribution is at the intervention level. Therefore, we also have SafeTALK (prevention level), GA Postvention (for schools after they have had a death by suicide), and Suicide to Hope (s2H) for master clinicians working with persons with ongoing suicidal ideation, attempts, and outcries. For more information about ASIST Training, contact Dr. Laura Shannonhouse and view the HOPE Lab.
This day-long training is designed to prepare school faculty, administrators, and staff to assist students in responding to change, trauma, and loss with resilience. Participants who complete this training will be able to: 1) describe a model for stress, trauma, and loss that gives a context for understanding students’ responses, 2) identify key components of an evidence-based approach to resilience that can insulate students’ against negative mental health outcomes as a result of the pandemic, and 3) apply the stress and resilience models through activities and interventions for students that build resilience and effectively process change, trauma, and loss. For more information about Building Resilience, contact Dr. Kenneth Rice or Dr. Jeff Ashby and visit the Center for Stress, Trauma and Resilience.
Gratitude and Appreciation for Personal Wellness:
Positive psychology research has identified a variety of benefits when people develop habits of expressing gratitude and appreciation to each other on a regular basis. These benefits include increased happiness, sense of purpose, cooperation, generosity, motivation, and effectiveness. In short, evidence-based gratitude interventions strengthen personal and relationship resources that reduce stress and improve well-being. In this half-day workshop, participants will learn (a) the scientific evidence linking gratitude to benefits for individuals, relationships, and organizations; (b) principles for increasing gratitude in the workplace, school, or home; (c) effective practices for promoting gratitude; and (d) how to develop a sustainable plan for increasing gratitude in one’s weekly and daily routines. For more information about Gratitude and Appreciation for Personal Wellness, contact Dr. Kenneth Rice or Dr. Jeff Ashby and visit the Center for the Study of Stress, Trauma and Resiliency.
The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS):
The Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) program is a school-based, group, and individual intervention. It is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems and improve functioning, grades and attendance, peer and parent support, and coping skills. CBITS has been used with students from 5th grade through 12th grade who have witnessed or experienced traumatic life events such as community and school violence, accidents and injuries, physical abuse and domestic violence and natural and man-made disasters. CBITS uses cognitive-behavioral techniques (e.g., psychoeducation, relaxation, social problem solving, cognitive restructuring and exposure). CBITS can be incorporated into a school’s tier two and three intervention supports. This training is available for school-based mental health professionals. For more information about CBITS, contact Dr. Chavez Phelps.
Mindfulness training will be available using two programs developed by Mindfulness Without Borders. Across twelve sessions, the Mindfulness Ambassador Program (MAP) teaches middle and high school students basic mindfulness and dialogue practices that help them access the wisdom within themselves and within the group. The MAP establishes a common language based on sharing, modeling and practicing core principles and strategies that strengthen students’ well-being, critical thinking, social and self-awareness and compassion. For educators, the 8-session Mindful@Work program focuses on bringing mindfulness to life in both personal and professional contexts. Participants learn a variety of mindfulness practices that help them reduce stress and build resilience. Through self-reflection, group dialogue and conversation starters, participants explore the role of emotional intelligence on their thoughts, feelings and actions; and how to enhance the quality of the choices they make in the classroom as well as their personal lives. For more information about Mindfulness Training, contact Dr. Andrew Roach.
Check & Connect Mentoring Program:
This evidence-based mentoring program is used to promote the development of positive social-emotional skills and academic performance to prevent ethnic minority students from low SES backgrounds in high-need schools from dropping out of school. The combined use of individual and group mentoring can focus on a range of academic and social-emotional skills needed for succeeding in schools, such as study skills, bully prevention, suicide prevention, social-emotional learning and the prevention of commercial sexual exploitation. This program works well with middle school students and can maximize effectiveness by providing mentoring to students beginning in middle school and continuing through graduation from high school. This program can result in more low-income, ethnic minority students graduating from high school with a range of skills that will enhance chances for successful participation in society as adults. For more information about Check & Connect Mentoring, contact Dr. Kris Varjas or Dr. Joel Meyers and visit the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management.
Bullying is a serious problem for youth and children resulting in a number of negative effects on behavior, academic performance and social-emotional development. Both in-person bullying and cyberbullying have been shown to have such negative effects and victims have included a range of children including those who identify or are viewed as LGBTIQ. Our center has developed research-based curricula to address bullying. One is targeted to children who are victims of bullying and the other is targeted to all children in a classroom or school including those who may be bullies, victims and bystanders. The curriculum addressing victims of bullying can be used in schools to develop coping skills in those students. The curriculum addressing an entire classroom or school can be used to develop skills among victims and bystanders. Using these curricula can reduce the frequency and negative effects of bullying. For more information about Bully Prevention, contact Dr. Kris Varjas or Dr. Joel Meyers and visit the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management.