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Stories tagged: Theme articles

5-step action plan for youth mental health first aid

By the Notebook on Dec 15, 2014 02:23 PM

ASSESS for risk of suicide or harm

LISTEN non-judgmentally

GIVE reassurance and information

ENCOURAGE appropriate professional help

ENCOURAGE self-help and other support strategies

Tips for educators on trauma

By the Notebook on Dec 11, 2014 01:10 PM
If a student… This might help
Shows obvious signs of sadness, acts clingy Listen to concerns and feelings. Educate students about different trauma reactions.
Experiences behavior problems that were not as serious before Stay calm, set limits. Try to get the student back into a regular classroom routine.
Has trouble concentrating, paying attention, or getting work done on time Focus on the present with gentle reminders. Consider modifying work or adding structure.
Seems sleepy or irritable due to lack of sleep Suggest healthy sleep habits, like not viewing,a computer or TV screen right before bed. Consider adjusting work deadlines until sleep is stabilized.
Experiences typical trauma reactions such as stomach aches, pounding heart, body aches, fast and shallow breathing Understand that these may make the student fearful. Teach relaxation strategies such as slow breathing, stretching, physical activity.
- Adapted from the National Child Trauma Stress Network

What trauma-informed care looks like

By the Notebook on Dec 10, 2014 11:40 AM
Trauma-informed Not trauma-informed
Recognize trauma as an issue. Think in terms of “What happened to you.” Think in terms of “What’s wrong with you?”
Act as a caregiver/supporter. Focus on collaboration. Avoid making the issue one of power or control. Pay constant attention to the student’s background and culture. Act as a rule-enforcer. Think in terms of compliance.
Use objective, neutral language. Use labeling language: words and phrases like “manipulative,” “needy,” “attention-seeking.”
Understand behavior as a coping mechanism. See behavior as intentionally provocative.

Philadelphia’s shift in discipline policy


Dan Hardy

on Dec 9, 2014 12:21 PM

In the wake of the catastrophic Columbine school shooting in 1999, many school district leaders, politicians, and police summed up their response to school violence with two words: zero tolerance.

Infractions that once might have prompted a discussion of motive and intention instead often led to immediate, automatic suspensions, expulsions, and calls to police.

From 2002 to 2011 in Philadelphia, that view held the upper hand; both Paul Vallas and Arlene Ackerman favored a zero-tolerance approach to school discipline.

In 2012, however, dissatisfaction with the results led to a tectonic shift in policy.

12 behaviors in children ages 3-6 that may indicate exposure to trauma

By the Notebook on Dec 8, 2014 11:55 AM

1. Problems focusing in school

2. Learning disabilities

3. Severe loss of temper

4. Constant demands for attention

5. Aggressive behavior

6. Verbal abuse

7. Startling easily

8. Fear of separation from caregiver

9. Being withdrawn

10. Stomach aches and headaches

11. Nightmares, poor sleep habits

12. Bed-wetting, regressive behavior

Adapted from the National Child Trauma Stress Network

Trauma courses train teachers, other staff on behavioral health issues


Paul Jablow

on Dec 4, 2014 11:39 AM

Michele Messer, a counselor at John Moffet School, said the course she was taking on trauma training had been “game changing,“ helping her gain a new perspective on her students.

“It helps me see where they are in time and space,” she said.

Marsha Weiford, a counselor at Edward Gideon and Gen. George G. Meade schools said that in addition to being useful in the schools, “It helps me educate the parents.”

Cynthia Moore, a counselor at Thomas G. Morton School, said simply that “It gives you the tools you need to get back in the trenches every day.”

Breaking the cycle


Bill Hangley, Jr.

on Dec 3, 2014 01:20 PM

It’s interview day for prospective students at the Science Leadership Academy, and Angela Sutton is just another happy mother.

Sitting with other parents in the back of the room, her hair coiled in gleaming braids, she’s telling about the day her 7-year-old tried to order $500 worth of science books online.

“It was biology, anatomy, it was a chemistry book in there – I couldn’t believe it,” she tells the parents nearby. “He said, ‘Mom, I saved you so much money, they were half off!’”

Statistically speaking

By the Notebook on Dec 3, 2014 11:12 AM

Percentage of lifetime cases of mental illness that start by age 14: 50%

Percentage of the population that will have a diagnosable mental disorder in their lifetime: 57%

Percentage of children 14 and older with mental illness who drop out of high school: 50%

Percentage of children and adolescents with mental disorders who are identified and receive mental health treatment in any given year: 20%

Mastery moves toward understanding trauma


Connie Langland

on Dec 3, 2014 10:20 AM

At the Mastery Thomas elementary campus in South Philadelphia, children sit in a circle in their 1st-grade classroom to talk about using “restaurant voices.”

“You can whisper,” says Dana.

“No screaming,” Maurice adds.

Please, can I have a Coca-Cola?” Liz suggests.

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