Providing support and resources for mental health is a top priority in the Mt. Vernon Community School Corporation (MVCSC). Mt. Vernon Schools are taking major steps in educating students, staff, and parents/guardians on the importance of mental health and wellness through programming and resources.
All MVCSC Teachers are Trained on Suicide Prevention
All Mt. Vernon teachers have been trained in suicide prevention through the Question Persuade Refer (QPR Institute), a certified program acknowledged by the state. Hancock Health provides teachers with the training they need to respond appropriately to in-crisis or suicidal individuals. MVCSC teachers are trained every three years and two staff members are becoming QPR trainers.
Each MVCSC School has a Community Health Network Counselor Onsite
Community Health Network has provided each of our schools with a counseling representative that Mt. Vernon families can utilize for support services during school hours. These counselors support students and provide continuity with the schools.
Mt. Vernon Middle School Receives Gold Star Recognition from the Indiana School Counselor Association
The Mt. Vernon Middle School paved the way in the corporation’s mental health initiative by becoming a Gold Star School. The Gold Star status is awarded to schools who have comprehensive and accountable counseling and guidance programs. This award also makes our middle school eligible for the national award of Recognized ASCA Model Programs (RAMP).
Top 10 Teacher of the Year in Indiana is Advocating for Mental Health Initiatives
The Mt. Vernon Middle School also has a staff member who is being formally recognized for advocating for a variety of mental health initiatives. A seventh grade Social Studies Teacher, Ms. Deb Thomas, was named one of the top 10 Indiana Teachers of the Year by The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). Ms. Thomas’s platform emphasizes the importance of mental health in schools and the need for additional resources, both for students and staff.
Ms. Thomas believes that school systems should offer additional training to learn how to support students suffering from trauma, grief, and/or loss. She is also pursuing a grant for ceramic heart kits from Hearts of Hope, a non profit organization that strives to help others through art. Her goal is to use these kits to help students confront their grief.
She is also urging Hoosier lawmakers to propose and support legislation to increase awareness, resources, and training for trauma and bereavement. She is encouraging the Indiana Department of Education to partner with school districts to provide educators with additional information about mental health programs, employee assistance programs, crisis response, e-counseling, and new digital tools.
MVCSC wishes Ms. Thomas the best of luck in becoming the Indiana Teacher of the Year, as she is undoubtedly worthy of the honor.
Mt. Vernon High School Hosts “Rise Above It” Interactive Mental Health Workshop on 9/11
The Mt. Vernon High School is the first school to host Healthy 365’s “Rise Above It” interactive mental health workshop on September 11, 2019. Healthy 365 is part of Hancock Health, and is the sponsor of this countywide mental health event. The workshops were dedicated to educating students (ages 13+) and adults on the best ways to cope with life’s challenges. There were a variety of breakout sessions, all of which dealt with common obstacles that students and adults will face or have already faced. The topics that were covered in the workshops dealt with problems that adults and students can face on a day-to-day basis, such as; anxiety, addiction, grief & loss, social media, cultural sensitivity, depression, suicide, and many more. Shuttle buses were available from several Hancock County schools, as well as complimentary snacks for participants.
Mt. Vernon High School Students Offer "Bring Change to Mind" Club Focused on Mental Wellness
Students at Mt. Vernon High School have taken the initiative to offer a "Bring Change to Mind" club to all students. "Bring Change to Mind" is a national organization designed to help normalize the conversation and create a more positive environment. The club gives teens a platform to share their voices and raise awareness about mental wellness. These mental health conversations encourage teens to learn and explore mental health in a safe environment.
All MVCSC Elementary Schools & Preschool Teach “Second Step,” a Social-Emotional Program
All three MVCSC elementary schools and the Mini-Marauder Preschool have also taken part in supporting mental health awareness initiatives through a program called “Second Step.” It is dedicated to social-emotional learning and consists of four lessons; skills for learning, empathy, how to calm down, and problem solving. A lesson is taught every week with students and is continually reinforced every day through a variety of teaching methods.
MVCSC is fortunate to have staff and live in a community that actively supports mental health. As MVCSC grows, the mental health programs and services will continue to improve to ensure the best learning environment and optimal wellness for students and staff.