Neosho School District expanding mental health services for trauma informed learning

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NEOSHO, Mo. — The Neosho School District is expanding its mental health services.

Neosho Public Schools is focusing on trauma informed learning.

The district is giving teachers and staff resources to help students succeed.

“Trauma informed schools is just basically teaching teachers and other people who work in schools to regulate themselves and regulate kids so everyone can perform at their highest potential,” said Tracy Clements, Neosho School District Director Of Counseling Services

The Neosho School District is focusing on becoming a trauma informed school. They started a program among the teachers three years ago to identify and address stress in students.

“Everything has to be regulated in order for kids to learn at their highest level. It can be a severe traumatic event or it can be a low level trauma or severe stress. If a kid is really stressed out their brain is doing the same thing it does in trauma,” said Clements.

She says trauma informed learning is a shift in mindset.

“If your thinking what happened to this kid you want to help them. And you are more likely to be positive with that child. If your thinking is what is wrong with this kid you’re less likely to help. And less likely to have effective interventions,” said Clements.

The district says between 2014 and 2018 they had two student suicides a year.

After implementing the program among teachers they have seen a positive outcome.

“We worked really hard to prevent suicides and improve feelings of belonging and feelings of wellness in our students. We have not had a completed suicide for three years so we saw drastic improvement in that. I don’t think we can stop,” said Clements.

Teachers say the trauma informed training has helped them talk to students.

“Having the training has given us the encouragement to speak with students about how they’re feeling and how their mental health is from day to day,” said Cody VanVactor, Woodshop Teacher.

The district is starting monthly trauma training for staff community, parents and staff from surrounding schools.

The training will be held the fourth Tuesday of every month at 4 PM starting in September.

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