Mar 2, 2018, Greensburg (PA) Tribune: School psychologists prepare for crisis in training at Duquesn

About 60 school psychologists from about 30 schools across southwest Pennsylvania gathered at Duquesne University this week to learn crisis prevention and recovery techniques.

The training included ways to identify students who might need extra mental health support, helping students recover from a traumatic event and teaching other school community members, such as parents and teachers, how to talk to students about a crisis.

Most children will recover from trauma, and many have good coping skills and strong family and community support. But for those who don't have those skills and resources, a crisis could have a lasting impact, socially and academically, Boyer said.

“If we don't respond to them after a crisis, then they can be in serious trouble mental-health wise,” Boyer said.

And the stakes are high: The physical and emotional stress a student feels after a crisis ultimately could impact learning. Their grades could drop, putting them at risk for not graduating or not reaching their full potential, Boyer said.

“We're setting the stage for what occurs the rest of their life,” Holloway said, emphasizing that school psychologists should be proactive about monitoring students' mental health. This includes teaching students how to understand and talk about their emotions, helping them learn what to do when they feel sad or angry and identifying students who might need extra services….