HealthIT education

How Hall County Schools is using $2 million grant for mental wellness

The framework coordinator job responsibilities include providing technical assistance to school mental health coordinators and working with parents, teachers and the community to spark conversations on mental wellness. The job also includes collecting district-wide mental health data and coordinating mental health training for the district. 

The tier 3 mental health coordinator role entails coordinating with local agencies and private resourcing which can offer support to at-risk students and families. They were required to have the ability to de-escalate students in “social, emotional and behavioral crisis” and provide ongoing coaching for family members. The coordinator must maintain ongoing data and records and explore potential funding sources for student support.

The district has also partnered with Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, to receive guidance on handling recent crises in the local community and schools, Etterling said. 

Recent crises include the deaths of two Flowery Branch students and six people killed in the Jan. 28 nitrogen leak at Foundation Food Group. 

While training has started among staff, the district will also focus on ways students can support themselves and others, said Interconnected Systems Framework Coordinator Sarah Johansson. 

Another initiative is finding ways to combat the stigma against mental illness, Johansson said. The team gathered through the grant plans to host community events with families to discuss the importance of mental wellness. 

“Young people are facing more challenges than ever. We are also seeing an uptick in anxiety and depression across age levels with COVID-19. Increasing protective and resilience factors for students of every age is a high priority,” Johansson said.

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