Honolulu (KHON2) – Hawaii’s State Department of Education is focusing on student well-being and providing a safe and supportive environment post-COVID.

“Whether students are physically on campus or attending classes online, we want to ensure students feel supported and cared for,” says Ayada Bonilla, School-Based Behavioral Health Educational Specialist. “Building trusting relationships, providing social emotional learning and understanding how trauma may be impacting not only our students but their families and the adults in our schools are just a few professional training topics provided for staff.”

The Hawai‘i multi-tiered system of support (HMTSS) offers a systematic process to identify students who might be struggling in the areas of academics, social emotional, behavioral or physical health. In addition to this process, the Department will be providing ongoing mental health professional development, resources for students, families and faculty, and a statewide media campaign that will build public awareness of the wellbeing supports and programs available on our campuses.

This year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness theme is Mental Health Talk.  Bonilla adds, “We want to encourage open dialogue about mental health. We will be actively engaging in conversations to let our students know that their wellbeing matters, that they matter. The department schools are filled with supportive caring adults all focused on fostering student well-being.  If mental health concerns arise we have an amazing network of counselors and school-based behavioral health staff to offer assistance. No student should feel they need to struggle alone.”

To connect to Hawaii State Department of Education school-based supports and services,  reach out to your child’s school or to call the Hawai‘i Keiki Health Hotline at (844) 436-3888.

For community resources and treatment information for mental health disorders, the Department of Health’s Help Your Keiki website is a great resource for parents.  The Hawai‘i CARES coordination center offers 24/7 support with substance use, mental health and crisis intervention.  The Crisis Text Line is available for those that feel more comfortable texting.  If there’s an emergency or you fear you are in danger, please call 911.

Website:  https://www.hawaiipublicschools.org/

Social Media Handles:  Facebook/Twitter: @HIDOE808, Instagram: @hawaiipublicschools