ANDOVER — The Massachusetts Organization of Educational Collaboratives (MOEC) wishes to highlight some of the ways that collaboratives across the state work to support the mental health of students and staff.
On March 24 and 25, more than 80 educators attended a mental health symposium hosted by the Southeast Collaborative Regional Organization, which represents eight members of MOEC. The theme of the event was “Social Emotional Wellness: Building Resilience.”
The symposium featured presentations by field experts discussing unique topics in mental health and wellness to support students and educators. Topics ranged from creating therapeutic classrooms to navigating the mental health-care system.
“We are so pleased to have had the opportunity to provide so many educators across the state with the proper tools to approach their own mental health, as well as student mental health and well-being,” READS Collaborative Executive Director Dr. Theresa Craig said.
Educators were provided with strategies that they can implement immediately. Presentations emphasized the importance of self-care, building resilience, and forming connections with students.
Additionally, the Collaborative for Regional Educational Services and Training (CREST) recently received a $249,300 Supporting Students’ Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Behavioral & Mental Health, and Wellness through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
The purpose of this competitive grant program is to adapt, expand or strengthen multi-tiered systems of support to respond to the social-emotional and behavioral health needs of students, families and educators, and to build strong partnerships with community-based mental health agencies and/or providers.
“We are very grateful for this funding, which will have a tangible impact on our continued mission of providing our students with a safe, welcoming, and supportive learning environment,” CREST Executive Director Kim Oliveira said. “Student mental health directly impacts their academic success and as a collaborative, we are devoted to finding new and innovative ways to support both.”
These funds will be used for training in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, and support implementation of evidence-based social-emotional curriculum, substance use and mental health consultation, SEL training and coaching. It also will support enhancements in therapeutic services, including trauma-informed weight lifting, art therapy and music therapy.
“Collaborative programs are designed to provide high-quality, personalized education to students, while supporting their overall success, both in and out of the classroom,” MOEC Executive Director Joanne Haley Sullivan said. “Collaboratives recognize that providing mental health support is especially important given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has disrupted typical life at school. I commend the many ways that these educators work to support students, including through professional development opportunities and through state-of-the-art programs and services.”