Supporting Mental Health in Education: A successful consultation with the Chinle Unified School District
October 9, 2023
As the prevalence of mental health issues among young individuals continues to grow, educational institutions assume a pivotal role in offering assistance and nurturing constructive relationships. In the summer of 2022 Dr. Emily Haroz and Ms. Kristin Mitchell were approached by the Chinle Unified School District to help the district think strategically about how to address these challenges.
Serving over 3,000 Navajo students and their families, the school district is no stranger to the immense pressure indigenous communities face when it comes to handling mental health struggles. For generations, Indigenous youth have grappled with mental health disparities and limited access to mental healthcare, rooted in historical injustices and resource constraints. With support from the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, Haroz and Mitchell consulted with the school district over the spring semester to design a strategic plan for mental health support within the district and align it with an evidence-based multi-tiered systems of support for their students. This comprehensive approach aims to facilitate the coordination of resources and outside agencies, ensuring a seamless and holistic support system for students' mental and behavioral health.
As part of the process, Haroz and Mitchell led a series of strategic planning meetings that began with comprehensive asset mapping and were followed by ongoing meetings to lay out protocols for various levels of interventions and responses to student safety concerns. After careful refinement and feedback from all stakeholders, the strategic plan was finalized, laying the groundwork for comprehensive mental health support within the district.
By providing a solid foundation through the multi-tiered systems of support plan and pursuing additional funding opportunities, this consultation exemplifies the power of collaboration and data-driven approaches in tackling mental health challenges in educational settings.
The Bloomberg American Health Initiative provides support for faculty to consult with public sector officials and agencies at every level of government.
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