First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Gwinnett College

Second Presenter's Institution

NA

Third Presenter's Institution

NA

Fourth Presenter's Institution

NA

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Verelst

Strand #1

Mental & Physical Health

Strand #2

Social & Emotional Skills

Relevance

This presentation is related to strand IV. “HEALTH”, as it specifically addresses the mental health of students. There are too many students that are “at-risk” of failure because they are facing a mental health disorder. Teachers are not prepared to help these students. This session will provide teachers with ways to support students that may suffer from a mental health disorder. This presentation is also related to strand II. “HEART”, as teachers will learn strategies for working with students that will help to foster the development of appropriate social and emotional skills in students.

Brief Program Description

This session will offer teachers an in-depth understanding of mental health disorders, including basic information about these disorders, background information to assist in identifying early warning signs, and strategies for supporting students that may suffer from a mental health disorder. Teachers will learn classroom strategies that will foster a positive learning environment which will help to support these students

Summary

A student’s social and emotional welfare is important for academic success. Schools and communities are recognizing the importance of resilience and general “emotional intelligence” in students’ lives. Teachers are not only responsible for teaching academics, but are also responsible for promoting the positive mental health of their students. This session will provide teachers with strategies for helping students that may be suffering from a mental health disorder.

Even though there are school mental health and counseling services available for students, there may not be a specialized support system available for these students in their classroom settings. Self-esteem, self-acceptance, resiliency, and effective coping skills contribute to positive mental health and good behavior in students. A teacher’s perception of mental health disorders, their role in working with these students, and the barriers to helping a student with a mental health disorder are important to the success of these students. It is imperative that educators be aware of the warning signs of mental health issues and ways to effectively work with and help these students. In order to promote positive mental health, it is necessary for teachers and other educators to implement a variety of strategies in their classrooms.

This session will offer teachers an in-depth understanding of mental health disorders, including basic information about these disorders, a realistic awareness of the problem, background information to assist in identifying early warning signs so that appropriate referrals to physicians or mental health professionals can be made, and strategies for supporting students.

Evidence

According to the AAP (2017), “our current health care system does not meet the needs of children with mental health disorders. Although 1 in 5 children in the United States suffers from a diagnosable mental health disorder, only 21% of affected children actually receive needed treatment. Mental illness is like any other disease; the earlier it is identified and treated, the better the health outcomes.” Research has shown that when students are provided opportunities to improve self-esteem, self-acceptance, resiliency, and coping skills they have a better chance at success later in life. Providing early intervention to help students manage the ups and downs of life, and cope with things such as anxiety and depression, can give students the tools they need to work through obstacles. Addressing the needs of children with or at-risk for mental or emotional health issues in education can help improve their quality of life through adolescence and adulthood for these students.

American Academy of Pediatrics (2017). Promoting Children’s Mental Health retrieved from https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/federal-advocacy/Pages/mentalhealth.asp

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Hefner is an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Georgia Gwinnett College. She has 22 years of educational experience as a teacher and school leader spanning Pre-K through secondary education. Dr. Hefner’s specialty areas include special education, early intervention, and the education of at-risk children. Her research focuses on ways that schools can help support the teachers of students with mental illnesses and learning disabilities.

Keyword Descriptors

mental health, early intervention, teacher preparation, strategies

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

3-6-2018 1:00 PM

End Date

3-6-2018 2:15 PM

Shattered Ground- Mental Health Issues in Children-A Hidden Crisis- Handout.docx (49 kB)
Shattered Ground- Mental Health Issues in Children-A Hidden Crisis- Handout

Hefnerpresentationoutline_NYARSAV.pdf (104 kB)
Presentation Outline

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Mar 6th, 1:00 PM Mar 6th, 2:15 PM

Shattered Ground: Mental Health Disorders in Children – A Hidden Crisis

Verelst

This session will offer teachers an in-depth understanding of mental health disorders, including basic information about these disorders, background information to assist in identifying early warning signs, and strategies for supporting students that may suffer from a mental health disorder. Teachers will learn classroom strategies that will foster a positive learning environment which will help to support these students