Mental Health

The vision for the mental health committee is to provide tiered levels of support and training available for trauma informed services for staff and students in addressing acute and chronic traumatic events to support the social-emotional being of students and staff. The definition of trauma guiding the work is from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network which states that child traumatic stress occurs when children and adolescents are exposed to traumatic events or traumatic situations, and when this exposure overwhelms their ability to cope with what they have experienced. More information on the definition of trauma and child trauma can be viewed on the National Traumatic Stress Network's website.

All families who register a student are asked the 3 mental health screening questions and gain immediate resources if they give a yes response to any of the three. The questions are:

1.  Has your student experienced depression recently?
2.  Does your student have diagnosed mental health concerns?
3.  Has a loved one close to your student died in the last two years?  

Trauma is a response to a negative external event or series of events which surpasses the child's ordinary coping skills. It comes in many forms and includes experiences such as maltreatment, witnessing violence, or the loss of a loved one. Traumatic experiences can impact brain development and behavior inside and outside of the classroom.

To support staff in developing a deeper understanding of trauma, Topeka Public Schools partnered with the Childhood Trauma Academy to offer Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) training. Information provided from the Child Trauma Academy NME web site can be found below. The Child Trauma Academy has developed a set of training courses to help school counselors, administrators, teachers, and support staff utilize the NME with the children they serve.

The Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) draws upon the NMT (a neurodevelopmentally-informed, biologically respectful perspective on human development and functioning) to help educators understand student behavior and performance. The goals of NME are to educate faculty and students in basic concepts of neurosequential development and then teach them how to apply this knowledge to the teaching and learning process. NME is not a specific “intervention”; it is a way to educate school staff about brain development and developmental trauma and then to further teach them how to apply that knowledge to their work with students in and outside the classroom, particularly those students with adverse childhood experiences.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Ci3T implementation in ALL schools
  • Suicide prevention and response protocol updates
  • Trauma Sensitive Classroom Training
  • Trauma Informed Care Training for classified staff and all new staff
  • Mental Health Intervention Program
  • Impact Avenues
  • Hosted Wichita Public Schools for Alternative School Visit
  • Virtual SEL lessons
  • COVID-19 Continuous Learning
  • COVID 19 Student Services Outreach (Basic Needs; Social-Emotional Needs)
  • NME Training (Neurosequential Model in Education (NME)
  • Mental Health Webpage
  • Mental Health Boot Camp
  • Build Level Trauma Informed Training
  • Pilot - Full time social worker
  • Ci3t - New cohort
  • Second Step Implementation
  • Pilot with Second Step at JMS
  • Additional YDP sites: Topeka High
  • Resources; book studies, films, Paper Tigers; brain breaks, etc.
  • Peace Corners and Wellness Centers
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