- Fulton County Schools
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Why care? Because 1 in 5 people will be affected by mental illness in their lifetime. Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being and mental illnesses are common and treatable. So much of what we do physically impacts us mentally – it’s important to pay attention to both your physical health and your mental health, which can help you achieve overall wellness and set you on a path to recovery. Take the time to show you care about your mental health and the mental health of others.
The items below represents some, but not all, of the Social-Emotional Learning Supports that are offered in the Fulton County School System to support students’ social and emotional development in order graduate ready to pursue and succeed on their chosen path.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Supports
“Text4HELP” is a program that recently expanded to all FCS high schools. It began in January 2018 through a partnership with the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. Students who use the app can be connected anonymously to a licensed mental health professional for immediate mental health resources and referrals, 24 hours a day/7 days a week.
Quick Tip Feature on FCS App
Fulton County Schools has a “Quick Tip” function on our FCS app (available for iOS and Android phones) to report concerns anonymously. The tool provides an easy way to “see something, say something.” Reports of a threat also may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or reported through https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/fultonschools/quicktip.
Mental Health Agencies and Partners in Fulton County Schools
Fulton County Schools has developed a framework in which mental health partners are on the school campus and provide services to students. Students may access mental health providers on campus should they need that level of support and should their parents desire that option for them. We currently have a mental health on-site partner at 52 FCS schools and our goal is have one on every FCS campus within the next 3 1/2 years.
Student Crisis Response Protocol
The student crisis response protocol is used by all FCS counselors, school social workers and school psychologists when a student is suspected to be at risk for harm to self or others. Immediate mental health resources are provided to families and re-entry meetings are held once a student returns to school to ensure that effective transitioning takes place and to document a plan for addressing the needs and safety of the student and others.
Signs of Suicide (SOS)
Signs of Suicide Prevention Program is currently implemented in all Fulton County Middle and High Schools. The SOS Program is the only youth suicide prevention program that has demonstrated an improvement in students’ knowledge and adaptive attitudes about suicide risk and depression, as well as a reduction in actual suicide attempts and is listed on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. The SOS Program uses a simple and easy-to-remember acronym, ACT® (Acknowledge, Care, Tell), to teach students action steps to take if they encounter a situation that requires help from a trusted adult.
CARE (CAre REsponse and REcovery) team members are deployed whenever schools experience the death of a student, staff member or some other significant crisis. The focus is on recovery and grief support and to allow for ventilation and validation of emotions. FCS counselors, social workers, and psychologists are trained annually on these protocols. Students who need more intensive grief or mental health support are appropriately referred.
Youth Mental Health First Aid Training
Youth Mental Health First Aid training has been provided to 600+ FCS staff and community members. The training provides education and awareness of mental health for those who work with children and youth.
Pursuing Excellence And Knowledge (PEAK) Academies provide academic, social, behavioral and emotional supports for students who are suspended (short-term or long-term) for serious code of conduct offenses, many of which exhibit mental health challenges. There are three PEAK Academies in our school system – North Fulton, South Fulton and Southeast Fulton.
School Counselors, School Social Workers and School Psychologists
All Fulton County Schools support personnel are trained to identify and refer students who may be experiencing mental health, social or behavioral issues. They provide consultation, intervention, evaluation and a plethora of other support services to students in need.
Social and Emotional (SEL) Social Workers
There are 10 Social and Emotional Social Workers in the Fulton County School System. These uniquely skilled personnel will provide intensive case management for our most at-risk youth for violence, provide social and emotional learning for schools, parents and community and crisis support at schools.
Fulton County Schools currently has a total of nine behavioral specialists who work with schools to identify students with behavioral needs and then assisting them by training and supporting on the implementation of behavioral interventions.
Think First, Stay Safe (K-5)
This program contains instruction on personal safety, online safety, and school climate which supports the K-5 health curriculum. Students learn important information to help keep them protected from unsafe behaviors and situations.
Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS)
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive approach that establishes behavioral supports and school culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Fulton currently has 83 schools who have implemented the PBIS framework and have increased the number of schools who are operational from 10 in FY17 to 23 in FY18. We also now have 1 Distinguished PBIS Program (the top PBIS recognition) at Renaissance Middle School.