“A state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.”
Any educator or parent would want this for a child. These are certainly some of the outcomes we strive for at Summit. Does it color your perception to know that it is actually the World Health Organization’s definition of “mental health?” Unfortunately, this term comes loaded with stigmas and associations. Just as with physical health, emotional and mental health affects both children and adults. A 2010 study found that more than 20 percent of young people, either currently or at some point in their lives, will have a serious mental health challenge such as depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. Studies also show that their duration and seriousness can vary widely, and that young people learning to cope, adapt, and relate to others is an important part their ongoing health.
Supporting our students’ intellectual, emotional, and mental development is part of Summit’s mission. At today’s Professional Development Day, almost twenty teachers were trained and certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid. Trainers from the Crisis Response Network deepened our understanding of adolescent mental health, common challenge areas, and how best to respond to students who may be struggling. Our training focused on practices that promote robust mental health, building skills that strengthen resiliency, and supporting students in ways that are safe and non-judgmental. Since we are educators and not health practitioners, our ongoing partnership with parents, caregivers, and our community is essential as we all seek to support our student’s mental health.
Ongoing teacher training at Summit helps strengthen our school as an emotionally and physically safe place, where our students can joyfully strive for their personal best in all areas of their lives.
For our students,