Van Buren Schools Train Staff On Mental Health

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The Van Buren School District hosted a training Tuesday (Feb. 25) aimed at increasing mental health awareness and decreasing stigmas.

Administrators, coaches, resource officers, and other faculty received the training to help recognize students who may be struggling with their mental health.

The training, offered by Perspectives Behavioral Health Management in Fort Smith, covered topics like suicide, mood disorders, eating disorders and substance abuse.

It’s intended to help school professionals identify students dealing with mental illness and students with family members who have mental disorders.

According to mental health professionals, one in four Americans has a diagnosable mental illness. Van Buren High School counselor Renee Henson said the training will help with early detection of mental health symptoms.

"This training is kind of like first responder training,” Henson said. “It's not long-term mental health care or anything like that. It's really just to equip people to recognize that there could be a problem, and once you realize there's a problem with somebody, how to help them get the help that they might need."

Henson said the school district is also considering holding the training for students in the future as well.

The Van Buren School District was awarded a grant to fund the training for 60 individuals who have direct contact with students.