Cuero ISD morning announcements during the week of May 6th will include a “thought of the day”…Feelings ARE real; What is your favorite feeling?; Have your feelings changed today? Well, that’s OK. These announcements are an opportunity to begin discussions about a topic that many shy away from—mental health.
Mental health is how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices. Like physical health, mental health is important at every stage of life, and CISD uses small opportunities to promote a healthy outlook and ways to make smart choices for students and their families. To encourage positive reflection, the district is recognizing Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, marked on May 9, 2012, with messages about feelings and how to recognize and express them when relating with peers and family.
More than 25 percent of American children experience a serious traumatic or stressful event by the age of 16, and many children suffer multiple and repeated stresses. If left untreated, traumatic stress can interfere with a child’s healthy development and lead to long-term difficulties with school, relationships, jobs, and the ability to participate fully in a healthy life. Learning to recognize feelings and share them will begin a process to combat stress. CISD encourages students and families to talk about their feelings.
“Children’s Mental Health Awareness is an opportunity for us to join forces with hundreds of communities across the country to recognize the impact of feelings on trauma and stress in children and families and to celebrate the positive impact that we can have on the lives of young people,” said Michelle Chavez, CISD Smart Choices Counselor. “We want to support children’s positive social and emotional development and engage in conversations about feelings, stress, bullying, and let them know that help is available with the support of caring adults at home, school, and in the community.”
CISD students will be encouraged to participate in designing banners on each campus that focus on their feelings. Guidance lessons at the elementary level will continue those discussions. Students are even taking a prominent role in the message of positive mental health and participating in student driven programs on bullying and “being nice.” Teens for Change and a group of 6th Grade students are independently sharing the message to other students through drama, role play, and activities.
CISD SMART Choices is part of the national Safe Schools Healthy Students initiative funded by the USDepartment of Health and Human Services, US Department of Education, and the US Department of Justice and is one of only 12 schools districts in the State of Texas currently receiving the federal funding to work with community partners to focus on the issues that threaten the safety and health of our community’s young people. Current partners include the Cuero PD, DeWitt County Juvenile Probation, DeWitt County Justice of the Peace, PCT 1, and Mid-Coast Family Services. This core group is has pledged to positively impact Cuero students in their ability to learn, to live healthier, safer lives, and to help them cope by connecting with their school and community by promoting smart choices. Programs currently funded through this initiative include Parents as Teachers, School Resources Officers and school safety projects, truancy advocates and home visits, mental health programs, and prevention and intervention services on a wide variety of topics.
Feelings ARE real and important. If a student needs to talk, CISD has licensed counselors available. Please talk to a teacher or administration on any campus. Cuero kids make SMART choices!