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Teachers' workshop addresses youth mental health issues


October 29, 2010

Mental health issues are rapidly gaining recognition as one of the most pressing problems in modern education. Recognizing that teachers, administrators and school-based health professionals require the knowledge and skills to identify and support struggling students, two Arizona State University colleges have collaborated to offer a free three hour professional development workshop for educators and health professionals.

The partnership between ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College and the College of Nursing & Health Innovation (NHI) resulted in a professional development workshop that addresses the skills that educators will need to identify and assist their struggling students. The workshop, Common Mental Health Problems in Children and Teens: A Primer for Teachers, will be held from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Nov. 9 at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, Walter Cronkite/Eight Building, Room 128.

The presenters are ASU College of Nursing & Health Innovation Dean Bernadette Melnyk and Clinical Assistant Professor Ann Guthery, Special Coordinator for the Graduate Psychiatric Program. The session will highlight a number of effective strategies for use directly in the classroom.

“Behavioral and mental health disorders have surpassed physical health problems as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in children and teens. However, according to the American Psychological Association, less than 20 to 25 percent of the 15 million affected children receive any treatment due to the severe shortage of child psychiatrists and other mental healthcare providers, including child-family psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioners,” said Melnyk.

“Classroom teachers, school nurses and counselors must be on the frontline of identifying mental health and behavioral problems among children and adolescents and making referrals but often lack the education, experience or confidence to fill this void.”

This workshop will assist teachers, education leaders and health professional in recognizing signs and symptoms of the most common mental health disorders in children and teens. Strategies for addressing these problems in the classroom will be highlighted. Some of the topics addressed include:

• Overview of mental health problems in children and teens
• Mood and anxiety disorders in Children and Teens
• AD/HD and classroom strategies to improve performance in the classroom
• Behavioral disorders and how best to handle them in the classroom

This workshop will award three professional development clock hours for those who require re-certification through the Arizona Department of Education.

“As educators are increasingly faced with challenging issues, such as mental health disorders experienced by our school children and youth, they need the tools to support their students. The collaboration with the College of Nursing & Health Innovation is an example of ASU’s commitment to reach across disciplines to strengthen and support Arizona’s teachers with vital and relevant information,” said Teachers College Dean Mari Koerner.

Although it is a free event, reservations are required. Contact Michele Lefevre at learningforever@asu.edu or (602) 496-0127.

The workshop is being coordinated by Teachers College’s BEST Learning Forever program.  BEST Learning Forever provides low cost professional development opportunities for Arizona’s K-12 teachers and administrators, representing the highest levels of instructional quality, accessibility and evidence-based professional practice.

The BEST Program differentiates professional development for teachers throughout their life cycle of teaching and builds on the capacity of leadership within the educational system. The program is job-embedded and systemic, and provides a seamless continuum of professional development from induction through leadership. An emphasis is placed on leadership excellence, quality teaching and student achievement.

The Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College offers world class academic programs for educators and scholars preparing to enter or advance in the profession. Teachers College provides challenging education programs to prepare successful and highly qualified PreKindergarten-12th grade teachers as well as programs for those interested in advanced study and research activities leading to careers in school leadership, school and educational psychology, education policy, education technology and higher and post-secondary education. ASU’s graduate programs in education are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the nation’s best.

Contact:
Michele Lefevre, learningforever@asu.edu
Program Coordinator Senior

Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College