A Message from Our School Mental Health Team
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in May we also recognize Teacher Appreciation Week and National Nurses Week. In May 2020, school communities are also holding calendar space for navigating COVID-19 changes: virtual graduations, summer school reconfiguration, testing rescheduling, reconsidering grading, and challenges and unpredictable circumstances for many school mental health professionals.

We are grateful to offer you continuing support. In April, 408 of you showed up for our Wellness Wednesday sessions with the Meaning Makers Collective; 163 joined us for Planning for School Crises During Crisis  with our region’s own Yesmina Luchsinger (Arizona) and Dr. Steve Brock (California); and we launched our School Crisis Bereavement  webinar series with Dr. David Schonfeld. Please continue to let us know what you want more of and what topics and learning modalities will support your leadership at this time.
To that end, we’re excited to announce a new school mental health specialist on our team, Angela Castellanos .

Angela is an experienced mental health consultant and administrator with more than 25 years of diverse expertise in mental health care and school settings. As a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Angela specializes in administering mental health programs; developing and teaching college-level curricula; and mentoring professionals, parents, and students.

 “ What motivates me, ” Angela says, “ is the ability to make a difference in people’s lives. I love a great challenge and my passion is to create better communities through cohesive management at school districts, departments of education, and nonprofit organizations…Further inspiration comes from my daughter, who teaches me every day to be a better person.

Angela brings clinical, administrative, and program and policy development expertise, with a focus on crisis support and suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.

We look forward to connecting Angela to the field!
The   Pacific Southwest MHTTC   is a SAMHSA-funded center serving American Samoa, Arizona, California, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Hawaii, Marshall Islands, Nevada, Northern Mariana Islands, and Palau.
Contact us   for technical assistance and support on mental health topics. 
Invite your team to sign up:   tinyurl.com/pacsw-mh-news

School Mental Health Wellness Wednesdays
Connect • Reflect • Support
Note: here is the  link to the slides and handouts from all sessions, updated as the sessions are completed . We will also share the recordings of the sessions as available on our webpage . Please see the resources section below for resources distributed at the end of every session.
In collaboration with the  Meaning Makers Collective , we’re pleased to offer School Mental Health Wellness Wednesdays: 60-minute virtual sessions for the  school mental health workforce to connect, reflect, and support each other . Led by Judee Fernandez and Michelle Kurta, Meaning Makers Collective.
Please note that the Wellness Wednesdays are not a sequence; you can join some or all. All sessions are held at  5 p.m. ET / 2 p.m. PT / 11 a.m. HT .

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The Other SEL: Social Emotional Leadership
Fostering Our School Mental Health SEL to Get Us Through Pandemic Times
The Pacific Southwest MHTTC is pleased to partner with the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective ( BEAM ) on a summer seminar series of three intensive learning sessions.

This series aims to support school advocates, educators, administrators, and other school systems leaders in managing stress and trauma in their organizations, especially in the context of COVID-19. Participants will learn to adopt the necessary tools to incorporate emotional justice, equity, and wellness into their approach to leadership, as well as their organization’s practices and processes. Presented by Yolo Akili Robinson and Melissa Merin, M.Ed.

This summer series is designed for school professionals in the Pacific Southwest region (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Pacific Islands). Please note that we are unable to accept registration from educators outside of our region at this time. Registration is limited to 100 participants. Please only register if you will attend all three sessions.

Session 1: Tuesday June 16
6:00-7:30 p.m. ET / 3:00-4:30 p.m. PT / 12:00-1:30 p.m. HT ( view your time zone )

Session 2: Tuesday June 23
6:00-7:30 p.m. ET / 3:00-4:30 p.m. PT / 12:00-1:30 p.m. HT ( view your time zone )

Session 3: Tuesday June 30
6:00-7:30 p.m. ET / 3:00-4:30 p.m. PT / 12:00-1:30 p.m. HT ( view your time zone )

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California Professional Learning Community for the Transition-Age Youth (TAY) Mental Health Workforce and Champions

Third Wednesday of Each Month
1:00-2:00 p.m. ET / 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT / 7:00-8:00 a.m. HT

Do you work with youth and young adults of transition age in California? If so, join us for the California TAY Professional Learning Community (PLC), our  monthly community learning forum  on topics relevant to TAY-serving providers, advocates, champions, and allies.

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Supporting Grieving Students During the Pandemic
( Formerly : Supporting Grieving Students: How to be Both Grief-Sensitive and Trauma-Informed)

Thursday, May 28
6:00-7:30 p.m. ET / 3:00-4:30 p.m. PT / 12:00-1:30 p.m. HT ( view in your time zone )

Join us for the second webinar of our Crisis Readiness, Response, Recovery, and Renewal series with Dr. David Schonfeld. To be responsive to your requests, Dr. Schonfeld is tailoring his material with a new grief and pandemic focus.

Bereavement outside a crisis is common – the vast majority of children experience the death of a close family member or friend. These deaths have a significant and often long-term impact on learning, social and emotional development, behavior, and adjustment. This session will first provide practical suggestions on how schools can talk with and support grieving children in general. 

The current pandemic is associated with a large and growing number of deaths. Physical distancing, including lengthy school closures, makes it difficult for schools to provide support to grieving students using traditional means. This session will therefore also highlight the unique challenges for supporting students during the pandemic and describe free resources from the Coalition to Support Grieving Students that can be used to address these challenges. Ample time will be provided for questions and discussion.

By participating in the session, participants will be able to:
  • Explain death to a young child
  • Advise educators on what not to say and how to initiate conversations
  • Feel comfortable supporting a student of a different cultural background
  • Describe ambiguous loss and understand how knowledge of grief applies to loss other than bereavement, including during the current pandemic
  • Recommend accommodations for grieving students, which is also relevant for students adjusting to the pandemic or other traumatic experiences
  • Understand secondary losses and the impact they have on grieving students
  • Anticipate and address grief triggers in school settings

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Pacific Southwest MHTTC/Northwest MHTTC
West Coast ISF Party

In collaboration with the  Northwest MHTTC , we recently held a three-part distance learning series on the topics of our Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) Fact Sheets.

We’re excited to offer six West Coast MHTTC Discussion Hours (February through August 2020). There are two sessions remaining – join us for one or both.  

Don’t miss out! Join us for the  next session, June 2 at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT / 12:30 p.m., with our region’s own Natalie Sedano (California).  Natalie and participants will share their ISF implementation challenges, celebrations, and lessons learned.  

About the Series:
  • A series of Discussion Hours for school mental health practitioners from Regions 9 and 10 who want to talk about their experiences, share resources, and ask and answer questions.
  • Each ISF Discussion Hour will be hosted by an MHTTC School Mental Health Lead and supported by an ISF Field Leader.
We ask that if you are joining one or more of the ISF Discussion hours, please
1) download and read the three ISF Fact Sheets and 2) watch or listen to the three ISF Webinar Series recordings.
Virtual Learning from our Partners

Please see the MHTTC National Coordinating Office’s centralized learning highway, Responding to COVID-19 | School Mental Health Resources , for a compilation of products and virtual learning opportunities from all the MHTTCs across the country.

Note that this site is constantly being updated with new opportunities as we quickly respond to the needs and contexts of the field.

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Wednesday, May 27
2:00-3:00 p.m. / 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. PT / 8:00-9:00 a.m. HT ( view in your time zone )

The California School-Based Health Alliance is partnering with Pacific Southwest MHTTC and other organizations on a webinar series for school-based health centers (SBHCs). This final session will cover considerations for SBHCs to transition to telemedicine, including clinical issues, technology needs, and urgent situations.

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Virtual Learning Opportunities From the Field

Wednesday, May 27
4:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. PT / 10:00 a.m. HT ( view in your time zone )

Now more than ever, students need to explore emotions, build relationships, and support each other. This California PBIS Coalition webinar will provide resources and practices for integrating Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) and social-emotional learning in the virtual classroom.

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Through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, UC Santa Barbara is offering a digital course to help teens focus their minds, reduce their stress, and manage their emotions. In this 22-day course, students complete four 12-minute lessons as well as daily four-minute exercises. (Scroll down to “Get the course for free.”)

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Tuesdays and Thursdays, April 21-June 16
1:00-2:00 p.m. ET / 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT / 7:00-8:00 a.m. HT

Northwest MHTTC is partnering with Forefront Suicide Prevention Training Center and DBT in Schools to provide a 16-lesson online curriculum on DBT STEPS-A (Skills Training for Emotional Problem Solving for Adolescents). Join Drs. Jim and Lizz Mazza and their family as they teach kids the basics of emotional regulation and skills such as mindfulness and distress tolerance. For families, students, educators, and others who work with youth. All sessions recorded and posted to the website.

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These resources come from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement and the Coalition to Support Grieving Students, led by our colleague and partner Dr. David Schonfeld. They include helpful recorded presentations (15-25 minutes), such as the two modules for educators and parents on “Talking to and Supporting” our students and our children. Access the online materials here .

Need help navigating the online materials? The Coalition put together this cheat sheet .


Upcoming In-Person SMH Learning Events:
Postponed Until Further Notice

Proposals are due on May 29 for the 2020 California PBIS Conference, “Leading the Way for Positive and Equitable Schools ,” at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento, CA

September 21-22: General Conference
September 23: Post-Conference

Literature Review: In the latest issue of School Mental Health (April 2020), Stratford et al. review existing literature on trauma in schools, calling for more research on the impact of trauma-informed professional development and pedagogy   “to ensure that clear, evidence-based guidance is available to avoid programs, practices, and policies that may inadvertently traumatize students or exacerbate symptoms.”

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Podcast: Tune in to listen and learn with former principal Dr. Tracy Benson. Dr. Benson shares his experience, framework, and strategies for addressing racial bias, talking about racism, and “having a color rich school where we talk about discrepancies and outcomes based on race.”

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Interview: Listen in to Elaine Miller Karas, LCSW, founder   of the Trauma Resilience Institute, as she explains her approach to understanding and healing trauma on this episode of Over It and On With It.

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Facebook Group: Join Dr. Eric Rossen, author of the newly released second edition of Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students: A Guide for School-Based Professionals from Oxford University Press, and many others across the country for a virtual book club.

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The MHTTC Network and the National Center for School Mental Health partnered on a national environmental scan and needs assessment of mental health literacy resources for educators. The resource they developed describes the role of educators and school staff in supporting student mental health; explains the core components of mental health literacy; and provides an annotated list of existing resources and trainings to help educators and school staff build their mental health literacy. 

The Mid-America MHTTC created this great series of handouts with concise and direct advice for schools diving into telehealth. The “Getting Started” handout offers a step-by-step overview of four topics discussed in more detail in the other handouts: Navigate Privacy and Technology, Engage Your Team, Connect with Families, and Decide Essential Services.

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An Opportunity Lab initiative, this site offers guidance for wellness, instruction, governance, facilities, operations, technology, postsecondary planning, and more as we think about what it might feel like to return to schools.

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Santa Cruz County Office of Education (California) created this page to provide mental Health and wellness resources for families during COVID-19; it’s a great model for other county offices of education.

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The University of California, Los Angeles, education department offers this tool for k-12 schools to disseminate to teachers and educators as a needs assessment.  

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ASCD offers a selection of firsthand guidance from school leaders and health and safety experts to help educators coordinate initiatives and attend to school well-being issues.

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» School Telehealth Position Paper and Checklist
The California Association of School Psychologists (CASP) released an FAQ-style position paper on how to proceed with mandated Special Education assessments during the shutdown, as well as a useful Technology Checklist for School Telehealth Services.

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In this guide, Alive & Well Communities offers recommendations for navigating this time that are trauma-informed and developed for educators, by educators.

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In this EdWeek article (April, 2020), Peter DeWitt offers a capture of why students aren’t signing on to distance learning: 1) no access; 2) they are essential workers; 3) no grade incentive; 4) taking care of siblings; 5) no bedrooms or space to do the learning; 6) student-teacher relationships.

What do you think? What resonates as true? What is different in your experience?

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» Wellness Wednesday Resources

Even if you weren’t able to join us, we invite you to access the resources we offered at the end of every session.

Again, please let us know how we can support you and those you support.
Contact the Pacific Southwest MHTTC
Toll-Free: 1-844-856-1749  Email:  pacificsouthwest@mhttcnetwork.org   
Disclaimer:  The views, opinions, and content expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).