After receiving a mental health grant earlier this month, the Augusta area school district is now training their faculty on mental health first aid.
Superintendent Ryan Nelson says the training is vital to student education.
“The purpose of today’s training is to ensure that all of our teachers, and then our support staff will receive training later this fall, are equipped to recognize initial signs of mental health matters,” said Nelson.
Two staff members of the school district led the training, including school counselor Becky Larson.
“The most important part is that we are listening to our students and we’re letting them know that we are here for them and that we’re responding to them,” Said Larson. “Then just making sure that we are getting them the necessary help they might need.”
The training provides teachers with the resources to assist their student and helps them to recognize when a student may need help.
Fourth grade teachers Teri Hoff and Jodi Kardin say they are happy to have another resource to use to help the students.
“I’ve taught for many years and I think every year it’s kind of gotten to be a bigger importance that kids come in with a lot of extra things going on in their life and how we respond to that is important so these tools will really help us,” said Hoff.
“It’s wonderful because mental health is something that is coming up more in our society, definitely more with our students,” said Kardin.
The training was given to elementary teachers on Monday, and on Thursday, middle and high school teachers will receive the training.
Larson says the rest of the school staff will receive the training later this Fall.
There will also be an opportunity for the community to get involved so that they can get to know the warning signs of mental health issues.
Nelson says it’s important to address the issues associated with mental health as it is becoming a part of our culture.
People at the training said they were excited that the school was addressing the issue of mental health of students.