After School Program Mental Wellness
City & State
San Francisco, California
Mental Health (LHI)
The problem: Teachers of a local after school program have noticed increased stress and behavioral health challenges in students during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a group of children and families who have been disproportionately negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and have low access to formal mental/behavioral health interventions. The teachers, however, feel under-equipped to support the children with their behavioral and mental health needs in their after school program due to lack of formal training in this area. Primary setting: GLIDE’s Family, Youth and Childcare After School Program. Number of children affected: 35 Project goal: To increase teachers’ knowledge of and confidence in addressing common pediatric mental and behavioral health challenges, thereby improving mental health outcomes for children in the After School Program. Proposed intervention: The concept of ”education as mental health therapy,” i.e. training teachers in mental health topics, has been utilized in low-resource settings across the world. When teachers are trained and knowledgeable in mental health topics, they are able to recognize mental and behavioral health issues, provide support and informal counseling to their students, and direct them to mental health/ medical care as needed. Studies have shown that mental health training for teachers increases teachers’ knowledge, attitude, literacy, and confidence in addressing child mental health issues and improves child behavioral challenges. Such training is especially indicated given the critical shortage in psychiatric providers, with more than half of Californians expressing their communities don’t have enough health care providers to meet their needs. Our goal is to provide training for the after-school teachers in GLIDE’s program so that they have a better understanding of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders that occur with children and strategies to support children in developing healthy social and coping skills. In addition, we would like to build a mental wellness library containing culturally appropriate books on mental health for children and their parents in the program to access. Anticipated outcomes: - We expect these interventions will increase teachers’ skill in recognizing and addressing common pediatric mental and behavioral health challenges in addition to improving students’ mental and behavioral health. - We hope to equip teachers with the ability to pass on skills to new/incoming teachers who may replace them in the future. We don’t know when the next crisis will come but we can plan to have more solid foundations for our most vulnerable populations.
To increase teacher’s knowledge of and confidence in recognizing and addressing common pediatric mental and behavioral health challenges, thereby improving mental health outcomes for children in the After School Program.
Project Objective 1
By September 2022, all 5 teachers in the afterschool program will have participated in the mental health training program.
Project Objective 2
By October 2022, the after school program will have a mental wellness library.
Project Objective 3
By June 2023, we will have evaluated the impact of the mental and behavioral health training program and mental wellness library on participating teachers and affected students through a series of surveys and focus groups.
American Academy of Pediatrics