Seacoast Endowment for Education in Dover (“SEED”) has announced it received a $10,000 donation from an anonymous donor to complete the funding needed for Dover High School staff to participate in the Train the Trainer Teen Mental Health First Aid workshop offered through Community Partners. The workshop will initially train four staff members, with a goal of eventually having at least 10 percent of the adult staff and faculty at Dover High certified. Teen Mental Health First Aid teaches high school students how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders among their friends and peers. Designed for students in grade 10-12, the training gives students the skills to have supportive conversations with their friends and get a responsible and trusted adult.
According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-24 year olds. Dover High School has seen its share of suicides, losing three kids from the class of 2022 in just three years. Students were left wondering what the community is doing to address mental health.
Dover High School health teacher Amanda Lee and librarian Kristin Whitworth developed a plan to make mental health and wellness a priority at Dover High School. In the fall of 2020, the pair applied for and was awarded a grant from SEED to create an electronic library of resources specifically to support teen health. Students now have 24/7 access to Cameron’s Collection of 50+ e-books designed to help teens battling depression and anxiety and the Rosen Teen Health and Wellness database, known as a one-stop self-help resource and fully interactive online community center for teen well-being.
A recent survey commissioned by the National 4-H Council found that 70 percent of teenagers wished their school taught them more about mental health and coping mechanisms. “Securing these electronic resources was just the first step to addressing mental well-being at Dover High,” said Lee. “Our long-term goal is to provide training at varying levels (elementary and middle) throughout the district to teach students of all ages to identify signs of struggle with their peers and help them connect with trusted adults.” That’s when SEED got involved. “This is significant step towards addressing the mental health issue in our schools,” said Sue Vitko, SEED Grant Committee Volunteer. “This training will lay the foundation and framework for mental health services to protect student well-being, reduce stigma, promote learning, and improve access.”
The in-person training teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and what they can do to support their own mental health and help a friend who is struggling. These student lessons will be incorporated into the high school health education curriculum (a required class for graduation). “It’s empowering students with the skills they need to foster their own condition and to support each other,” said Whitworth “It is important for us to increase the number of students and staff during this crisis.”
All students enrolled into the class will receive a Mental Health First Aid certification verifying that they received this training. To learn more about SEED and its mission to create a legacy for educational excellence in Dover public schools visit www.doverseed.org.
Formed in 2011, SEED is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization working to promote academic excellence, champion technology and reward educator innovation in Dover’s public schools. SEED support is not intended to replace appropriate municipal funding. SEED raises private philanthropic dollars and provides grant funds, on a competitive basis, to educators who submit formal applications. SEED’s overarching goals are to create a legacy for educational excellence in Dover Public Schools and to advocate the value of education in the community. SEED welcomes donations of time, talent, and resources. To get involved, please contact info@DoverSeed.org