BAY VILLAGE

Mental health is an important focus for the 2,500 students in the Bay Village City School District. Now the district plans to focus on its faculty and staff.

School officials will introduce a program to help improve teachers’ mental health. The hope is that improving the teachers’ well-being will allow students to thrive in a positive environment..

“Our counselors and school psychologists are amazing resources for our students and their families, but during these unprecedented times, we feel our faculty and staff could benefit from a research-based platform to discuss their experiences during the pandemic,” said Superintendent Jodie Hausmann in an email.

Called a resilience circle, the program will offer free virtual counseling to staff and teachers to talk about their anxieties or issues and help them find healthy ways to cope. The confidential sessions will begin after Thanksgiving break, according to information provided by the district.

The program is a joint effort of the MetroHealth System and Northeast Ohio Educational Services Center. The two also kicked off a social media initiative called Wellness Wednesday for parents and students that provides tips on how to sleep, exercise and socialize better.

The offering is part of a yearlong, $14,400 effort to improve mental health in the district. The initiative is being funded by a state wellness grant.

Other programs planned for the school year include telephone consultations with a licensed child psychologist. While not free, consultations will be available for every family regardless of their health care provider.

On average, one in every 20 teachers, about 5%, experience a mental illness that has lasted, or is likely to last, more than a year, according to a study by the University College London Institute of Education.

With that in mind, school officials are eager for the program to begin.

"We are thankful for MetroHealth and their willingness to partner with our staff to offer resiliency circles,” said Human Resources Director Holly Schafer in an email. “Our hope is that our staff members will use the resiliency circle as a time to pause and focus on their own self-care.”

Contact this reporter at akamczyc@westlifenews.com or 216-307-6614.

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