October 18, 2018
Are Schools Ready to Tackle The Mental Health Crisis?
- Building Community
Source: neatoday.org | Re-Post Fight for Life Foundation 10/18/2018 –
For Melodie Henderson, it was one of those “Tag, you’re it!” moments.
“When you’re an educator, often it’s just you and a student at a particular, challenging time in the classroom and you have to step into their world,” says Henderson, a special education teacher at Manchester High School in Chesterfield County, Va.
That’s what happened a few years ago, in the middle of Henderson’s grammar instruction. A student got out of his seat without warning, walked toward the window, and began to sob uncontrollably. Henderson approached the student, who quietly told her that the previous night he had made a deal with the devil, but wished he hadn’t.
“I made a mistake. Give me my soul back!” he shouted. “I don’t need to go!”
Henderson promised him that the school and the school’s staff would keep him safe. Seemingly reassured, he quietly returned to his seat.
This wasn’t the first time Henderson had handled a situation with a student whose behavior demonstrated a mental health concern. But this particular incident made her realize that the patchwork of resources available to educators in her school and district that were designed to help students who may be grappling with mental illness was—although marginally useful—inadequate.