Two local schools have failed mental health training

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A recent audit by the New York State Comptroller’s Office found that a few local school districts, one in Tioga and one in Chenango County, were lagging in mental health training for staff.

Audit results reported this month by the office of Thomas DiNapoli show that Waverly and Unadilla Valley had not completed any of the 12 elements of mental health training recommended for staff.

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The “Mental Health Training of the New York SAVE Act” audit sampled 20 school districts and found that most had not provided mental health training to all staff for the 2020-2021 school year as of the date. September 15 deadline.

The Comptroller’s Office acknowledges that the COVID pandemic has delayed some district training programs.

The 16-page audit reports that six of 20 districts either did not offer training or offered training that did not include the 12 recommended components: obsessive/compulsive disorder, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, addiction, how to access crisis support, mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, suicidal behaviors, trauma and stress related disorders and who to turn to.

Controller says:

“School staff are often the first to notice if a student has mental health issues, and they need effective training to help them understand the signs and symptoms early on.”

The Democrat says his office found that much of the vital training was not happening for everyone from superintendent to substitute teacher.

Many districts cited a lack of follow-up to ensure staff had completed training. Others said the COVID-19 pandemic and post-closure return to school has readjusted the focus on getting students back into the classroom and that mental health training may have been dropped.

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