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NH Paraprofessionals Come Together to Fight the Stigma of Mental Illness


Too often, students with mental health problems suffer alone. Their struggle with eating disorders, substance abuse, disruptive behavior, anxiety, or depression is in many cases cloaked in silence.

“Because of a stigma attached to mental illness, people are afraid to even discuss it much less ask for help,” says Shannon Fuller, president of the Keene Paraprofessionals Association (KPA) in New Hampshire. This was not something KPA members were willing to allow in their school district or community.

“Our students don’t choose to have mental health problems,” says Fuller, who has been a paraeducator for 18 years, the last four at Symonds Elementary School. “We had to do something.”

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Please be aware that you are eligible to file for Unemployment Compensation on the day after the last day of school.  The quicker you file the sooner your unemployment benefits will begin.  This can take three to five weeks or more, so do not delay in signing up.  This is a relatively new law that NEA-NH was instrumental in getting passed that means that ESP do not have to wait until the start of the next school year before they can collect Unemployment Compensation.  ESP who have an individual contract to work the next school year cannot collect during the summer months, because they have the expectation of a job in the fall, but ESP who have been reduced or terminated  should file with the State as soon as the school year ends.