Through the Project Prevent (Cohort 2) grant, Stringtown Public School provides a community partnership with Riverbend Counseling Services for students and families. This grant gave Stringtown the opportunity to hire 3 mental health professionals, offer counseling services at no cost to students, and provide a social emotional learning curriculum. Starting with data collection that identified specific needs for students, families, staff, and community, Stringtown focused on making data analysis actionable by using the insights to implement program interventions and strategies and staff training. Priority was placed on the inclusion of school staff in all capacities; anyone that made contact with students-- superintendent, principals, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria personnel--was included in the training, to promote the program quickly and effectively across the entire school community.
This past school year, Stringtown has successfully implemented programs that aim to destigmatize mental health through the utilization of the arts. Getting student buy-in to these mental health initiatives was at the forefront of implementation. Stringtown held a school-wide art show on the importance of mental well-being and opened the event for the community to attend. Submission opportunities allowed all students to submit art, poems, writing, or music to be displayed at the art show. This opportunity was open to all ages and encouraged students to promote what mental health meant to them in their own relatable ways. In the future they plan to broaden the range from arts to all aspects of student interest, to effectively engage as many students and families as possible in their mental health initiative. See below for examples of student artwork displayed at the Art Show as well as Stringtown students wearing mental health t-shirts to support the initiative.
Hear more about Stringtown’s efforts to destigmatize mental health on their podcast episode of In Session.