How ACS is addressing mental health awareness

How ACS is addressing mental health awareness
Posted on 05/16/2019

Story written by Arlington Community Schools Social & Transition Specialist Dr. Constance Certion

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Arlington Community Schools is doing its part to highlight the fact that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being and that mental illnesses are common and treatable.

The national platform for this year’s observance of MHAM covers the topics of animal companionship, spirituality and religion, humor, work-life balance, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.

In recognition of this month, Arlington Elementary and Donelson Elementary hosted a visit with Job the Comfort Dog. Job, a gentle and loving golden retriever, has received specialized training to provide comfort and companionship to children and adults.

Job regularly visits nursing homes, senior centers, veteran homes, schools, and hospitals to spread joy and cheer to those who need it most. Last year, he comforted students at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School after the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

Earlier this month, Arlington High School was officially established as the newest high school chapter of Active Minds. This student-led national organization supports mental health awareness and education for high school and college students and works to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health. The executive leaders for 2019-20 are Morgan Linsy, Landon Pleasant, and Isabela Perez, and they are already busy planning awareness activities for the upcoming school year.

For the 2019-2020 school year, all teachers will be provided with mindfulness training tools through a nationally-known program. Mindfulness is one of many strategies that promotes self-care and reduces anxiety. 

This summer, teachers will also be able to take advantage of a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training opportunity that teaches the warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge.

Constance CertionABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Constance Certion, Ed.D. is the Social and Transition Specialist for Arlington Community Schools. She has 15 years of experience in school and community-based counseling settings. She is a member of the West Tennessee Counseling Association, Tennessee School Counseling Association, and was recently appointed to the Governing Council of the Tennessee Counseling Association where she serves as the Membership Chair.

Constance earned her B.A. in Religious Studies from Rhodes College, M.S. in Counseling from the University of Memphis, Ed.S. from Liberty University, and Ed.D. from Carson-Newman University.