During the October 1st Jeffco School Board meeting, members not only discussed mental health needs, but at one point, board member Susan Harmon pleaded to have more resources directed to mental health – for students and staff.
In previous budget discussions, the board did direct dollars be put toward more social emotional resources. But, considering the impact COVID is having on all of our community, for so many, it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough. And, you can’t spend dollars you don’t have.
This article in the Greeley Tribune -”Youth suicide rates during the pandemic foreshadow what experts say will be a “tsunami of need” – paints a seriously urgent need for more services for our youth: 31 suicides among 10-17 year olds between March and August of this year, “which is the same number of deaths recorded on average for the same period during the year prior years…”
We know mental health has risen to the top of concerns throughout our community and other’s, statewide and nationally. The impact COVID has had on rearranging how everyone must now live their lives, the drain on financial resources and health resources is really taking its toll. While we rightfully focus on students, and the toll all of this is having on our nation’s youth, we can’t afford to overlook the mental health of our school and teaching staff.
In this Forbes article by Garen Staglin, Co-Founder and Chairman of One Mind at Work, “The Mental Health Resources that Teachers Need”, the author discusses just that. https://www.forbes.com/sites/onemind/2020/10/06/the-mental-health-resources-that-teachers-need/#2d7db86479b9
We have such great expectations of our teachers –
“…First, teachers face an impossible choice: return to a potentially unsafe workplace, or give up their job and sense of purpose. As the President of the National Education Association (NEA), Lily Eskelsen Garcia, explained, Educators believe they are viewed as expendable, and they feel forced to choose between their jobs or the health of themselves and their loved ones.”
We wish we had a ballot initiative for funding public K-12 education this November that we could urge voters to pass, that would bring more dollars to education and the state, making it possible to provide the desperately needed resources toward mental health, physical health (fighting COVID) and just paying our teachers. But alas, Initiative #271 never made it to the ballot. Instead, sadly, we are working hard just to preserve what funding we have in K-12/School Funding and prevent any more big cuts.
That’s why we are urging voters to pass Amendment B which would preserve the local funding share for our schools (as well as funding the county, fire districts, and special districts), and
to say NO to Proposition 116 which would reduce our state’s general fund revenue at a time when legislators have been forced to make drastic cuts to public education and other state services.
Regarding mental health – especially suicide prevention – Support Jeffco Kids continues to offer suicide prevention trainings (thanks to Shawna Fritzler’s training and certification) . Jeffco PTA also offers a sign-up for suicide prevention trainings, as well as a tab on their website with a long list of resources for suicide prevention, as does the our Jeffco school district, and there are county and state services (which also risk taking a cut to funding if either 116 or Amendment B go the wrong way).
Support Jeffco Kids Suicide Prevention Training:
Jeffco PTA Suicide Prevention Training:
Jeffco PTA Resources for Suicide Prevention:
Our state is in desperate need of more funding for public education, not less. Until we have the opportunity to consider a funding initiative on the ballot again, let’s make sure we spread the word on Amendment B (YES) and Proposition 116 (NO) so we don’t do any more damage to our already depleting resources.
This November 3rd, we strongly encourage you to vote your values.
“They say, if you want to know what a community values, look at how its children are treated. If you want a sense of what a community hopes for the future, look at how it values its schools.”