I work as a psychiatric social worker in a Counseling Enriched Special Day Class. This classroom setting is an integrated education and mental health program for students diagnosed with serious mental health challenges. I provide individual and group therapy sessions and I also work in the milieu to support students.
My students are among the highest need teens in the district.
My students come up against significant barriers in their lives, including poverty, mental health stigma, and intergenerational trauma. The students I work with are eager to do well in school and show up aiming to do their best.
My students struggle to self-regulate and implement tools which address their significant trauma exposure. Many of the students I work with struggle with complex PTSD and the added challenges of attending an under-resourced school district.
Our program wholeheartedly believes that students can heal from past trauma and find success in the mainstream setting. I know firsthand that positive interactions with adults and peers, in an environment where students feel safe and supported, go a long way to help students find success in school.
I'm seeking funding to attend a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course over the summer. MBSR was founded by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979 and was initially developed for treatment-resistant patients experiencing severe chronic pain. MBSR, which is an eight-week, evidenced-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training is now used in over 250 hospitals across the world to treat anxiety, stress, depression, chronic pain, and other challenges. MBSR uses tools such as mindfulness meditation, body awareness, and cultivation of attention in order to help individuals reduce suffering and distress.
My goal is to be trained in MBSR tools and then offer these practices to my students, with the confidence that these practices can change and reshape our brains to live healthier, happier lives.
My hope from this training is that I can gain additional tools and techniques to use in my work with students with severe mental health challenges. I also would like to share MBSR tools with my colleagues.
My students have experienced significant trauma, which can result in numbing, disconnection, and reduced capacity to feel the full range of human emotions. I want to offer mindfulness as a tool for grounding, self-regulation, and self-awareness.
My students desperately need more tools to deal with their daily stressors, which includes poverty, family instability, trauma, mental health challenges, and difficulties with attention and regulation. MBSR can help with anxiety, depression, burnout, and stress and I would like to cultivate these practices to share with my school community.
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