APPLEGATE: Supporting the well-being of our students

Published 8:43 am Monday, December 23, 2019

The holiday season can be a joyful time for many, but that’s not the case for all students and families. The added stress of holiday events and travel, the loss of loved ones and other factors can all contribute to issues with mental health this time of year. This holiday season, and all year long, Niles Community Schools teachers and staff are working to support the wellbeing of our students.

Roughly one in five children ages 13 to 18 live with a mental health condition, according to the Alliance on Mental Illness. In order to best care for our students, all of our staff have been trained in trauma-informed care. Trauma-informed care promotes safety, empowerment and healing when discussing sensitive situations and topics. Our staff acts as the first resource for our students, available to them wherever they are in our buildings.

Our schools provide additional support to all students through trained faculty and programs. Nearly all of our schools have behavior specialists who help students work through emotional issues. School social workers are also available to provide one-on-one counseling. For additional professional support, we partner with grief counselors and local mental health facilities.

At the high schools, school counselors are a great resource, and they are always willing to work through social and emotional issues with our students. Peer-to-peer programs help students navigate conflict, and help make sure students have someone their own age they can talk to. At the same time, extracurricular activities often improve students’ sense of belonging and are protective factors in their mental health.

At Niles Community Schools, there is nothing more important than the well-being of our students. Providing them with the tools that they need to succeed is our focus, inside the classroom and out. This season, I am grateful for the Niles Community Schools’ staff and their dedication to our students.

Thank you, and Go Vikes!