Chapman University’s annual Mental Wellth Fair is a highlight for many graduate students in its School Counseling and School Psychology (CSP) programs. Students in the M.A. in School Counseling and Ed.S. in School Psychology graduate programs put on the annual fair to help promote mental wellness and share mental health resources with the entire Chapman community.
With the move to remote learning and the campus closure due to the pandemic, Amy Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., NCSP, Assistant Professor of School Counseling, developed the Mental Wellth Project to help her students in this fall’s Mental Health in Schools course connect their coursework to practice. The project was designed as a way for the CSP students to take what they learned in class — mental wellness resources, statistics, study findings, and more — and share it with a larger audience.
Using the materials developed by the Chapman CSP students, Chapman’s Attallah College of Educational Studies has launched the Mental Wellth Project website with mental health resources for parents, educators, and school-age kids. The new site includes Mental Health in Schools Toolkits and distance learning handouts organized by both audience (educators, parents, and children) and grade level.
Mental Health in Schools
All the toolkits and worksheets on the Mental Wellth Project webpage were created for K-12 students, their families, and educators in the field and are available free of charge.
Rachel Han, a first-year student in the M.A. in School Counseling program, said this project helped her translate the materials she learned in class and showed how important it is to address mental health in schools.
“The mental health toolkit outlined so many important aspects of the roles of school staff and how they can support students within schools,” said Han. “The toolkits provide many mental health resources and show ways to navigate different support systems for students, parents, and teachers.”
Zack Maupin, a fourth-year Ph.D. in Education student and the graduate teaching assistant coordinating the Mental Wellth Project, said they created the toolkits for families and educators to use now, but the Chapman CSP students will also be able to use them at their future school sites.
As school counselors and school psychologists, it will be their job to provide resources and support in a way that students can understand. The Mental Health in Schools Toolkits taught them how to speak to different populations about mental health and how each population needs to be addressed differently.
Each full toolkit contains worksheets, tips, and links to online resources. A key part of the Mental Wellth Project was to create toolkits that are useful and age appropriate, so the Chapman CSP students focused on the best ways to present the materials to different age groups.
Derek (DJ) McIntire, a first-year student in the M.A. in School Counseling and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) programs, said the teams needed to reword and break down complex topics for non-experts.
“The toolkits make mental health information accessible and easy to understand, in a format that students could process at their own pace,” said McIntire. “This is crucial for the development of aspiring mental health professionals in schools because it is our job to facilitate social-emotional wellness for our students. Developing resources and support in a way that students will understand is essential for our success.”
Organized by grade level and audience, Mental Wellth Project webpage groups resources by audience and grade level:
The educator and parent toolkits were designed to help them learn more about mental health and become better equipped to support their students’ mental health. Other toolkits were written for the students themselves.
Distance Learning in the Time of COVID
As an added resource, the Chapman CSP students also created worksheets specific to distance learning. Given widespread school closures due to the pandemic, mental health literacy is becoming an increasingly pressing topic for educators, parents, and students.
“Parents, teachers, and students are encountering a lot of struggles with distance learning and may need a bit more support,” said Maupin.
Maupin explained, now more than ever, it is important to address mental health in school settings. The distance learning handouts break out tips and tools specific to home-based learning and the pandemic such as stress, isolation, and coping with change.
Rachel Wiegand, a second-year student in the Ed.S. in School Psychology and LPCC programs, said the importance of mental health and mental wellness is woven throughout all of her Chapman courses. The Mental Wellth Project gave her team the chance to put into practice everything they’ve learned in class.
“Creating the Mental Health in Schools Toolkits helped us to communicate what we’re learning to the communities we serve in a way that is useful, practical, and inviting,” said Wiegand. “After all, what’s the point in learning all this stuff if we don’t know how to share it with families, educators, and students!”
Visit the Mental Wellth Project website to access the full Mental Health in Schools Toolkits and distance learning handouts.
For more information about Chapman University’s graduate-level school-based mental health programs, visit the M.A. in School Counseling, Ed.S. in School Psychology, and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) program webpages.