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Connecting to resources

Workshop focuses on student wellness
By: Aurora Sain, Reporter
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On Friday, educators, counselors and people who interact with students were treated to a day-long program on problems surrounding mental health, homelessness and food insecurity.

The program called “Passport to Student Wellness” was put on by the Placer School for Adults, Sierra Assets and Placer County Office of Education.

The workshop focused on the Placer County Network of Care, an online tool to connect people to resources.

Steve Casperite talked about one of the teachers at the Placer School for Adults who was teaching a class where two students were going to be homeless and therefore could no longer attend class.

Through the Network of Care they were able to connect the students to resources.

They also talked about mental health in the middle school through adult school level and how to help as an educator.

“The information here is so invaluable,” Casperite said.

Different speakers came throughout the day, but before starting Michael Lombardo, executive director of Prevention Support and Services, reminded the participants to take care of themselves.

Talking about suicide, grief, trauma and mental health and how to approach students dealing with any of the above is a difficult topic.

“How do we know how to help if we’re not engaged with students,” Lombardo said.

In Placer County, 21 percent of children ages 9 to 17 have a diagnosable mental health disorder.

The suicide rate in Placer County is higher than the California average, especially among the elderly.

The class taught the educators how to recognize signs and develop strategies for addressing the challenges faced by students.

“There is a stigma and fear around mental health because we can’t really see it,” Lombardo said.

For more information, visit tinyurl.com/placerwellness or the Placer County Network of Care.