Online Program

Implementing a comprehensive trauma-informed mental health program in an urban high school

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Kimberly Jewers-Dailley, MA, RDT, Post Traumatic Stress Center, New Haven, CT
Urban adolescents are at high risk for exposure to traumatic experiences at home, in their communities, and in the city. These include poverty, community violence, and child maltreatment. These stressors negatively impact on the student's academic success and if left unsupported can lead to depression, poor school performance, mental health issues, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual risk taking, and high school drop out. Access to immediate and appropriate mental health services for urban adolescents who have experienced traumatic events is imperative for their total well-being and is a predictor for success in school and future self-sufficiency in adulthood. In 2007, to address the specific and culturally sensitive needs of urban adolescents in New Haven, CT, a comprehensive mental health program called ALIVE (Animating Learning by Integrating and Validating Experience) was created and implemented in a high school. ALIVE established a trauma-centered counseling clinic, an integrated co-taught curriculum that focuses on prevention, resilience, and emerges from the student's lived experiences, as well as preventive school-wide assessment and regular, on-going screenings of stressors in students. The array of mental health services involving prevention, screening, early detection and in-class curriculum continue to be employed with substantial success. At the same time, promotion of a positive and nurturing school climate further delimits the impact of traumatic stressors on students' academic experience. Various policy and administrative issues and challenges in implementing a comprehensive trauma-informed program in an urban high school setting will be discussed with recommendations for future related initiatives.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines

Learning Objectives:
List the various components and stakeholders in implementing a comprehensive mental health program in the high school Explain an educational model that integrates the experiences of the students' lives into the curriculum Discuss screening methods and their relevance to adolescents

Keyword(s): Mental Health Services, School-Based Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a drama therapist, clinician and director of school-based programs (A.L.I.V.E.) at the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, CT. My work has focused on creating, developing and implementing brief, preventive, trauma-centered and drama therapy-based approaches to increasing student achievement in urban schools.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.