The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) partnered with the Sacramento Kings earlier this month to present rallies at two local schools that focused on mental health and on-campus services that are available to students. Children cheered as their school’s mental health clinician was introduced, and the schools were left buzzing with excitement through the end of the school year.
At the rallies, students were thrilled to interact with Slamson (Sacramento Kings mascot) and enthusiastically watched as the “916 Crew” (Sacramento Kings hip hop, freestyle, stepping, and breakdancing team) performed. Some of the wellness techniques they learned included:
- Maintaining a supportive relationship with a close friend or family member
- Exercising daily
- Eating healthy food
- Taking a walk to enjoy nature
- Practicing meditation techniques
The rallies were held June 2 at Las Palmas Elementary School and Martin Luther King, Jr. Technology Academy (both in Twin Rivers USD). The two schools are part of SCOE’s School-Based Mental Health and Wellness Program, which was launched in partnership with the Sacramento County Department of Health Services in 2020 to make schools “Centers of Wellness” for the community. The events were funded by CalHOPE, a California counseling initiative that provides crisis counseling and support services. SCOE subject experts helped the Kings select discussion topics and collaborated with the schools on rally details.
School-Based Mental Health and Wellness
Being aware of their feelings helps children appropriately express their emotions, navigate relationships, solve problems, and make healthier choices. Mental health education helps children learn problem-solving strategies and coping skills to manage stress, anxiety, and other challenges. These skills empower children to cope with difficult situations, regulate their emotions, and build resilience in the face of adversity. By teaching children about mental health at a young age, they can learn to understand and manage their emotions effectively, helping prevent the development or escalation of mental health issues later in life.
Clinicians from SCOE’s School-Based Mental Health and Wellness Program are SCOE employees, serving as members of the team at the schools in the local districts where they are based. The staff currently covers 40 sites, and the hope is for the program to gradually expand to serve every public school in Sacramento County. Clinicians help provide mental health and wellness services working to normalize mental health and the integration of mental health services into schools. They primarily provide individual therapy to students, but also support clubs and offer advice about students to district staff. The goal is to improve student mental health by focusing on prevention and early intervention, which can result in improved academic achievement.