Educators are in the unique position of being one of the few, or perhaps only, adults outside of a household to “see” children
during this crisis. Of course, teachers cannot be expected to be mental health professionals. But they can use their rela-
tionships with their students and their access to them during this time to connect, listen, and help link families to additional
services if they suspect that a student is experiencing serious depression, anxiety, or trauma symptoms. Even with remote
interactions, educators can provide extra support to these students, and school administrators can support this.
Educators and school staff
Educators and school staff can consider the following strategies during this time, to help students and families address trau-
ma and mental health symptoms:
- Set up individual conferences via computer or phone to check in with students and ask about their safety and worries.
- If you have developed successful classroom strategies to help a student cope with symptoms at school, consider shar-
ing those strategies with caregivers to help the student have more success while learning at home.
- Talk with the school mental health professionals to better understand how to connect students and families with them
when necessary. Ask for consultation about any worries you may have about any particular student.
Administrators can consider the following strategies during this time, to support students and families who may be experi-
encing trauma and mental health symptoms:
- Work with your school mental health staff to develop a list of mental health resources that families can access from
their homes. This list should include a suicide hotline, disaster distress hotline, domestic violence hotline, school
mental health staff available by phone or video, and community mental health resources. This list can be distributed
to families as well as to educators and school staff.
- Consider offering a virtual professional development in-service that includes some strategies that educators and
school staff can use to identify and connect to students and families who appear to be struggling during this time.
Ensure that staff understand how a family can access the available resources.
- Develop a partnership with a local mental health agency with some expertise in trauma. People from this agency could
offer professional development related to trauma and mental health, be available to students, families, and staff who
may need additional support, and help navigate difficult decisions related to issues such as child abuse reporting or
- Establish routine virtual “hallway check-ins” where staff can check-in with other staff related to student concerns.