Monthly News Article for August 2022
Trinity County Office of Education
Sarah Supahan – County Superintendent of Schools
www.tcoek12.org • (530) 623-2861
August – Mental Health Expansion
Welcome to another school year in Trinity County! As we look forward to the upcoming year, we first have to recognize the fact that many of our students have been working through some truly unprecedented times. From virtual learning and pandemics to the constant threat of devastating wildfires, our students have dealt with and carried with them a lot of emotional baggage. We have heard the need for additional mental health supports, whether that be counseling, mentoring, or social skills training from many of our school districts and we wanted everyone to know the steps we are taking to address some of those challenges.
Keeping in mind the feedback we have received from our school districts related to mental health, the Trinity County Office of Education has been successful in seeking out several grant opportunities to support the needs of students. These grants will be implemented over multiple years and are designed to meet the needs of each of our communities through a significant expansion of the current mental health program. This includes the addition of ten mental health technician positions and four new mental health clinicians to provide countywide supports. Mental health technicians engage in teaching students coping skills, resilience, and character building, while our clinicians focus on individual and small group counseling. We are also adding behavioral staff to our mental health team. This includes one behavior analyst and two to three registered behavioral technicians (RBTs). RBTs work under the supervision of the behavior analyst to problem-solve difficult behaviors (including those that are disruptive to learning). This often includes observations, recommendations and/or strategies for change, as well as goal setting to change the identified behaviors.
An important aspect to the success of the mental health expansion is the collaboration and teamwork involved between all of our mental health staff. This means regular engagement and collaboration to discuss current caseloads, the successes and challenges their respective students are making, and if more supports need to be added to an individual student. The school-based mental health program will focus on wrapping around the school community in one comprehensive model. That means, rather than having multiple programs working individually, we will move towards one system where all the groups are working together, collecting different perspectives and making the best plan of action for the student.
We have a tremendous opportunity to make a positive impact not only on our students but on the communities in which they live. While the times (and the challenges) have been unprecedented, so too now are the resources and opportunities for growth. We are extremely proud and eager to begin engaging in this work. We look forward to supporting our districts and working to support all the communities of Trinity County.