CareNet Brings Resiliency Training To Over 300 School Employees
CareNet in recent years has broadened the traditional approach to mental health care by bringing it out of the office and directly to people in the community—sometimes in the workplace and sometimes in primary care offices.
Last summer, Will Eads, NCFBPPC, and H. Leah Creel, MDiv, LCMHC, of CareNet’s Piedmont Triad office, along with first-year residents Janna Byrd, LCMHCA, and Wiley Smith, LCMHCA, spent a day providing trauma and resiliency training to more than 300 employees, largely bus drivers, employed by Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.
The trauma and resiliency training, part of a daylong orientation for school system employees, was a follow-up to a smaller one by Eads in the spring to training staff with the school system’s Transportation Department. BestHealth for Business, a department of Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, has a contract with the school system, and works with CareNet when behavioral health assistance is requested.
Creel says one of the things she noticed at the summer session was that bus drivers were engaged and asked their training staff for more.
“There was interest not only in helping employees remain grounded and present when experiencing stress, but providing them a better understanding of how stress and trauma impact children and adolescents, and how this often this can show up in how students interact with them,” Creel says.
The summer session resulted in “lots of conversation around school, including the bus, being a safe space for students and how frustrating behaviors exhibited by students likely have more to do with what’s going on at home than what’s happening on the bus.”
The CareNet team facilitated 18 breakout training sessions, which were 25 minutes each. For the residents, it was a chance to get thrown into work early—it was the first week for Byrd and Smith with CareNet. The sessions gave participants a chance to explore the impact of trauma and some simple steps people can take to soothe themselves when they notice physical sensations indicative of anxiety in their bodies.
Creel says the response has been great.
“These drivers really care about the kids they transport,” she says. “There was a great deal of engagement in talking about the impact of stress and trauma on these kids, while acknowledging how stressful and scary at times it can be to be solely responsible for a large number of students while safely driving around a huge vehicle.”
In addition, Creel says, “I had multiple drivers come up to me and say that the break out session should have been at least an hour.”
Creel says she is scheduled to present on much of the same information at Kimberly Park Elementary School in February, and BestHealth for Business and CareNet are exploring further ways to partner with the school system.