Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices, and it is integrally linked to our physical health. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
NEA-NH promotes a greater emphasis on awareness of mental health needs and early intervention services to ensure that all of us can enjoy the highest quality of life possible.
This is especially important in a school setting, where our children are developing into young adults and many sources of pressure can lead to high levels of stress — for both students and school employees.
We have heard your concerns about student mental health issues in New Hampshire’s public schools. These mental health issues range from Adverse Childhood Experience (ACEs) to young children impacted by the opioid crisis, to children who are food insecure.
To support you and your work with the school-aged youth of New Hampshire, NEA-NH President Megan Tuttle convened a working group to examine how NEA-New Hampshire could best support educators in the Granite State. A survey was sent out to all members and the responses provided us with a wealth of information about the topics of interest to members. NEA-NH also learned about the urgent need for professional learning. Educators want to help students, but they are currently lacking the knowledge and resources needed to do so.
After reviewing the survey data, the working group decided to undertake the following actions:
- Hold a webinar in early February to communicate the results of the survey and notify educators about the support NEA-New Hampshire will be providing;
- Write, publish and disseminate an issue of NEA-New Hampshire’s monthly newspaper, The Educator, which would be devoted to information about mental health issues and the resources available in New Hampshire to support educators;
- Develop a two-part professional learning opportunity on mental health issues and Adverse Childhood Experiences;
- Send a team from New Hampshire to attend the Illinois Education Association’s three day training for district teams on how to develop a district plan to address student mental health issues;
- Create a section of NEA-New Hampshire’s website that addresses mental health issues and provides educators with information about classroom practices and available resources;
- Secure an intern to help gather information about New Hampshire’s mental health resources and to help develop and possibly provide training on mental health topics;
- Provide workshops on mental health at NEA-New Hampshire’s Educational Support Professionals Conference to be held at Pembroke Academy on April 6th;
- Hold workshop on mental health issues at NEA-New Hampshire’s Summer Leadership and Fall Instructional Conferences; and
- Continue our outreach to partners and legislators to raise awareness about student mental health issues and the need for public engagement on this topic.
We’ll keep you posted on these and other actions.