Hart district hosts parent forums on mental health, prepares for its next events
William S. Hart Union High School District officials said the district’s mental health forum Tuesday was informative and helpful to parents who attended, and staffers are preparing for the next forum on Feb. 28, which will focus on healthy relationships.
According to Sarah Gilberts, Hart district wellness coordinator, the parent forum on Tuesday, in English, and the one Thursday, in Spanish, are a platform for staff to engage virtually with parents and families about anything related to a specific topic, this time being athletes and mental health.
“It’s anything related to mental health, social-emotional wellbeing, and how parents are also in need of support,” Gilberts said. “We bring in different experts and community partners, from our community, to speak upon different mental-health-related topics.”
With it being National Signing Day for sports on Wednesday, and February being National Womens’ Sports month, district officials thought it would be great start to discuss the importance of mental health for athletes, and ways to support them.
“We contracted with Henry Mayo, and they provide athletic trainers on campus that kind of help screen and triage students’ injuries,” Gilberts said.
Sometimes there might be a mental health component when a student physically injures themselves while training or in a game, or there’s added mental or emotional stress associated with competition, and more.
Athletic trainers, district staff and wellness center staff share the work in addressing any concerns that students might present. These concerns or signs could look like an eating disorder, increased anxiety, changes in behavior, etc.
The forums are a way to inform parents. It provides the language and knowledge to keep a conversation going to help their child manage their mental health, and stay healthy, according to district staff.
Gilberts added the district will be hosting more forums and other events in Spanish, or in other languages agreed upon. There’s a large population of Spanish-speaking families in the district so district officials thought it was important to offer this forum in Spanish.
“It’s more about building momentum, forums that are offered in Spanish, and letting families and these communities know that we’re here to support,” Gilberts said.
District officials said that when they host parent forums there’s usually a shared student component at each school site. For example, the next forums will discuss relationships and how to be more mindful using social media, as Valentine’s Day is the next big holiday on everyone’s minds.
Gilberts said they might host a speaker event in a multipurpose room, lunchtime activities or host empowerment conferences with that same idea in mind. But the purpose remains the same, to break down the barrier of mental health and the stigma associated with mental health on campus.
“We are trying to just bring awareness and break down that stigma, those barriers, so that people know it’s OK to ask for help,” Gilberts said.
For information about the Hart district’s student care lines, visit bit.ly/3RfHC5D.