Willis Jepson Middle School opens new mental health center | abc10.com

By Krys Shahin

A Vacaville Girl Scout troop created a wellness “zen den” for Willis Jepson Middle School students after noticing themselves and their peers struggling with mental health through the pandemic.

Troop 20113 consists of lifelong friends Amy Borchert, Cailtlin McGee, Lily Coble, Ayanna Elias and Nikki Magiera who wanted to help students like themselves have a safe place to decompress from the stress of their studies. The girls have known each other since preschool and banded together to create the Jaguar Zen Den.

Source: Willis Jepson Middle School opens new mental health center | abc10.com

Bay Area schools receive $5m slice of federal grant to support student mental health – Fox 2

By Jeff Ballinger

More than $5 million will come to Bay Area schools from a nearly $75 million federal grant funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

A White House announcement Monday described the act as advancing “the Administration’s efforts to tackle the mental health crisis in our schools.” Awardees in the Bay Area include the following:

Source: Bay Area schools receive $5m slice of federal grant to support student mental health

Biden administration adds nearly $100 million for school mental health professionals | EdSource

By Carolyn Jones

Fourteen colleges and school districts in California are among those that will receive federal grants to hire and train mental health professionals in high-needs schools, the U.S. Department of Education announced Monday.

The grants are part of an overall investment of more than $95 million, spread among 35 states, through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The money is in addition to $286 million the administration has already awarded to train and hire mental health professionals and diversify the field.

Source: Biden administration adds nearly $100 million for school mental health professionals | EdSource

$4M SCOE grant to support mental health, wellness – Daily Republic

Solano County Office of Education has received a $4 million federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The grant’s focus is to advance healing and improve social determinants of health among youth and families in communities that have experienced community violence, disproportionate impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, and other significant collective trauma over the past 24 months.

Source: $4M SCOE grant to support mental health, wellness

SCOE awarded $4 million grant for mental health, wellness – The Vacaville Reporter

The Solano County Office of Education was awarded a $4,000,000 federal grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The aim, according to a press statement, is to “advance healing and improve social determinants of health among youth and families in communities that have experienced community violence, disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, and other significant collective trauma over the past 24 months.”

“SCOE is honored and well-positioned to be entrusted with such an important grant that will support building capacity for increased mental health supports in our school communities,” said Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson in the statement. “Schools across Solano County have seen an increase in student mental health and wellness needs, and we will use this grant to continue to be a conduit and leader in this work for students and families.”

Source: SCOE awarded $4 million grant for mental health, wellness – The Vacaville Reporter

CA must act to address mental health and suicide crises | The Sacramento Bee

These are difficult days for my students of the past, the present and the future. They need more from us.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. The need for better help and better health and my deepening concern for the well-being of our kids had led me to share my own story of struggling with mental health.

April 16, 2018, was one of those days I thought I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. My body was fine, but my mental health was not. The depression that has been an unwelcome companion of mine throughout my life had me under its control again. I had my plan, including a bottle of pills, and was ready to follow it.

Source: CA must act to address mental health and suicide crises | The Sacramento Bee

Travis hears report on mental health of students in district – Daily Republic

By Susan Hiland

It is a tsunami of needs that has impacted our schools, according to Allyson Rude Azevedo, Director of Student Service, at the Travis school board meeting, Tuesday evening.

She along with Sylvia Crowder, School Social Worker, provided an overview of the mental health and climate of the school district.

The revelations rocked the attending parents, causing much outrage.

In February of this year an anonymous survey was handed out to students from elementary school through high school to judge how things were going emotionally for them.

Source: Travis hears report on mental health of students in district

SPI Supports Mental Health Clinicians Bill – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and Senator Mike McGuire (D-North Coast) today joined mental health leaders and professionals to urge support of a bill that would provide grants of $25,000 to aspiring clinicians who commit to serving two years in communities of high need. Seeking solutions to lower student-to-counselor ratios in schools is not a new effort or one unique to California. However, through Senate Bill (SB) 1229, California is pursuing an ambitious plan to help recruit 10,000 professionals to help support the growing mental health needs of students. The California Department of Education (CDE) is proud to partner with Senator McGuire on this priority legislation.

“During this pandemic, our students have experienced extreme levels of depression, we’ve seen a doubling in the percentage of Black students who have expressed suicidal feelings, and we know there’s an increase in hospitalizations for young people and adults,” said Superintendent Thurmond. “California has had enough mental health professionals to provide services to about 30 percent of those who needed it even before the pandemic, and those challenges were even greater in rural communities. We’ve got to build out our school workforce in many places: teachers and classified staff and certainly mental health clinicians in order to meet the needs of our six million students.”

Source: SPI Supports Mental Health Clinicians Bill – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

Rep. DeSaulnier Virtual Town Hall On Mental Health: Pandemic 2022 | Walnut Creek, CA Patch

“The event will be held on Zoom and will be streamed live on Representative DeSaulnier’s Facebook page (facebook.com/repmarkdesaulnier).

“Congressman DeSaulnier will be joined by experts in the field of mental health, Gigi Crowder with the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) California and Dr. Nicola Parr of the Solano County Office of Education, who will be available to answer questions.

Source: Feb 23 | Rep. DeSaulnier Virtual Town Hall On Mental Health: Pandemic 2022 | Walnut Creek, CA Patch

SPI Announces “A Trusted Space” Initiative – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth, a film-based program to help address increasing mental health challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the nonprofit All It Takes, the program provides educators and school staff across the state with strategies to build safe and trusted spaces for K–12 students.

Recognizing that COVID-19 has impacted our lives for almost two years and has caused anxiety, grief, stress, and a myriad of losses for our school communities, State Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) have worked to expand school-based health services. These include the formation of the new Office of School-Based Health Programs; the addition of a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Consultant; and sponsoring legislation to recruit 10,000 mental health clinicians. Thurmond, who worked in social work and school-based mental health, has vowed to help California lead the way in providing for mental health needs in our schools.

Source: SPI Announces “A Trusted Space” Initiative – Year 2022 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI Announces $2 Million in Grants Available – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced that California community-based organizations will be able to apply for grants to address the social isolation experienced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of its ongoing efforts to address the pandemic’s continued impact on students, the California Department of Education (CDE) will award grants of up to $250,000* each to community-based organizations that can demonstrate their ability to partner with schools and districts to provide programs and supports to offset the social isolation experienced by students during the pandemic and help them build healthy social connections.

The application process and criteria are available on the CDE website today, December 8, 2021, and the deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 7, 2022. The grants are funded through a $2 million appropriation in the 2021–22 California State Budget (AB 130, Chapter 44, Sec. 164).

Source: SPI Announces $2 Million in Grants Available – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

SPI, Leaders Discuss Mental Health Services – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a webinar on Wednesday for local educational agencies (LEAs) and education partners to discuss how schools can support students, families, and communities by addressing and investing more in mental and behavioral health services.

State Superintendent Thurmond was joined by a distinguished panel of state leaders for the “Investing in Mental Health: A Roundtable Discussion” webinar that featured conversations about how LEAs, educational leaders, and policymakers can build what Thurmond said has never been done before: creating and implementing the most robust and historic level of mental health programs throughout the state.

“We have to support our students and educators,” said State Superintendent Thurmond. “This is the beginning, not the end, and we will continue to build the most robust system that we’ve ever seen to support students. Our schools are often the center for our students and their families. When they’re hungry or hurt, we must attend to their needs so we can support their learning and well-being.”

Source: SPI, Leaders Discuss Mental Health Services – Year 2021 (CA Dept of Education)

Bobby Only appointed Associate Mental Health Clinician – Daily Republic

By Nicole Langarica

At last night’s Governing Board Meeting, the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District (FSUSD) Governing Board affirmed Bobby Only as Associate Mental Health Clinician, effective immediately.

Ms. Only has served the students of FSUSD in various capacities. Her career with FSUSD began as an Early Mental Health Clinician at Bransford Elementary School. She continued in the following capacities: Community Outreach Liaison at Anna Kyle, Paraeducator at Fairfield High School, and a Paraeducator at Armijo High School. Only brings these past experiences and expertise to the Associate Mental Health Clinician role.

In recommending Only for this appointment, Anna Viera, the Armijo High School Department Chair, stated:

Source: Press Release: Bobby Only appointed Associate Mental Health Clinician

Dixon USD selects Care Solace for enhanced mental healthcare services – The Reporter

Dixon Unified School District is pleased to announce that it has selected Care Solace, an organization determined to streamline mental health care to support behavioral and mental health referrals for our nearly 3,000 students, families and staff members.

Care Solace equips school districts with a web based tools making it easier for students, families and staff to connect with resources and providers in their communities.

“School is more than a place to learn, it’s a place where students come to feel safe and supported. Even with the resources and support provided by our district mental health staff, we see that there’s an unmet need,” Superintendent of Dixon Unified School District Brian Dolan said in a press statement.

Source: Dixon USD selects Care Solace for enhanced mental healthcare services – The Reporter

Padan prioritizes mental health lessons as students return – The Reporter

By Nick Sestanovich

While many students are happy to be returning to campuses after being away for so long, the isolation stemming from the yearlong closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic has also taken a toll on their mental health.

It is an area educators throughout the country are working to address and one that staff at Eugene Padan Elementary School have placed emphasis on.

Kindergarten teacher Kimberly Arnold said this has included incorporating social-emotional learning curricula at every grade level, establishing a committee to support best practices for teaching such curricula, and hiring mental health practitioners to support students most in need.

Source: Coronavirus: Padan prioritizes mental health lessons as students return – The Reporter

VUSD officials explain new tool for student mental health support – KCRA 3

School-based mental health services and support programs are important to creating safe and supportive learning environments.

The Vacaville Unified School District has developed a new tool to provide students with a variety of resources.

Teacher Kim Arnold and Joanna Littell, a mental health physician, joined KCRA 3 on Wednesday to talk about available mental health support for students.

Source: Q&A: Vacaville School District officials explain new tool for student mental health support

Schools want to hire more counselors amid budget woes – The Reporter

By Carolyn Jones

With students facing ever-growing levels of depression and anxiety as the pandemic wears on, nearly everyone agrees that school districts need to expand their mental health services.

But budget uncertainties have stymied school districts’ efforts to hire more counselors and psychologists, leaving mental health advocates worried that thousands of students in California won’t receive the help they need.

“Basically, nearly every student in California has been traumatized,” said Melanee Cottrill, executive director of the California Association of School Psychologists. “We expect to see a huge demand when school reopens, and we are very concerned about meeting the needs of students.”

Source: Schools want to hire more counselors amid budget woes – The Reporter

Webchats to help Solano teens with Covid-19 stresses – Daily Republic

By Daily Republic Staff

A series of Monday webchats to help teens and young adults to cope with the stresses of Covid-19 has been extended through June.

The Mental Health Mondays webchats will be facilitated by Student Wellness Specialists from Solano County Office of Education Student and Program Support Department.

“In the wake of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic, our young people are facing unprecedented challenges and stresses that can have a lasting impact on their overall well-being,” Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson said in a statement. “I am inspired by SCOE staff’s commitment, cooperation and collaboration to use technology to problem-solve and place priority on our students.”

Source: Webchats to help Solano teens with Covid-19 stresses

Solano Youth Invited To ‘Mental Health Mondays’ Zoom Webchats | Benicia, CA Patch

By Maggie Fusek

Solano County youth 14 to 21 years old are invited to participate in an upcoming series of free mental health webchats held through Zoom. Mental Health Mondays Webchats are facilitated by student wellness specialists from Solano County Office of Education’s Student and Program Support Department, giving youth a safe space to ask questions and exchange information with their peers about mental health.

Last month, SCOE’s Youth Development Department hosted the “Coping with COVID” webchat series for youth on a wide range of topics including: mental health, stress and anxiety management, mindfulness, and routine and schedules. The series, particularly Mental Health Mondays, was successful and received positive feedback, and is now extended through June.

Source: Solano Youth Invited To ‘Mental Health Mondays’ Zoom Webchats | Benicia, CA Patch

Solano County’s Child Haven keeps working amid pandemic – Times-Herald

By Times Herald

The COVID-19 pandemic may have presented health, economic and safety issues but Solano County’s oldest children’s mental health agency is up for the challenge.

During times of high stress, coupled with financial instability and isolation, the incidence of domestic violence and abuse rises steeply, Child Haven officials said in a news release.

As services to at-risk families become even more critical, Child Haven has remained open, providing remote, web-based tele-health services to clients, with only key admin staff in the office.

Source: Solano County’s Child Haven keeps working amid pandemic – Times-Herald