Belleville, IL: Teachers trained on mental health strategies; "a growing issue in schools"

May 31, 2018, Belleville (IL) News Democrat: Local teachers train because schools are ‘front-line defense’ for mental health concerns Every seat was full in the classroom as teachers gathered to hear what they could do to help students with mental illness. But the answers were complicated. Dealing with mental health issues among their students is a growing issue in schools. Teachers might spend more hours per day with teens than their parents do, but how do they help children address problems ranging from stress and anxiety to severe abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder? Several times a year, teachers and school employees can gather for a day-long training session in Belleville with experts from local mental health agencies to study issues specific to teens and how best to handle them. Jamie Martens-Perry, of the agency Chestnut Health Systems, said a teacher can have 30 students in a class, several of whom might have a personal problem or mental health issue such as depression…. Ruth said teachers must face how mental health issues and depression can affect the student and the classroom, but it is also a matter of safety for other students and faculty and staff. “If a kid is hungry or something is going on at home, how do they focus on math class?” Ruth said….