New Mental Health Resources For AUSD Students, Staff, & Parents

 

 

Dear Arcadia Unified Students, Parents/Guardians,


While Mental Health Awareness month has come and gone, and we have reached the final day of school, I want you to know that our commitment to fostering a school culture that promotes health, safety, and the well-being of all of our students, staff, and parents continues into the summer and year-round. We are excited to announce two new resources that are now available to our students, staff, and parents. Seniors, even though you are graduating tomorrow, these resources are still available to you as well. Once an Apache, always an Apache.


The first new resource we have made available for our students, staff, and parents is Care Solace. Care Solace is an online referral service with a live (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) concierge line meant to connect individuals with local mental health programs and counseling services that meet their needs. To use Care Solace, individuals simply answer ten basic questions in order to receive an extensive list of referrals to applicable care providers. Care Solace takes into account all types of private insurance, including Medi-Cal, Medicaid, and Medicare, and those who have no insurance. The system also filters by age, gender, zip code, and special requests. The Care Solace team will assist you through the entire process if needed and help pair you with the best resources for your needs, whether it’s related to mental health or substance abuse.

Care Solace only requires an email address, it does not require a user’s name, address, phone number, or date of birth. All the information entered on this platform is completely confidential and stored securely. Please note that while this referral service is free, depending on one’s medical benefits and coverage, there could be costs associated with treatment options.

If you are interested in seeking counseling-related services at this time, please consider visiting www.caresolace.com/ausdfamilies. If you have any questions about the service, you can email weserve@caresolace.org or call (888) 515-0595. Many of our own Arcadia Unified counselors have been trained on how to use Care Solace and would be happy to assist you with any questions. Please see the attached flyer for more details.


The other resource we are excited to inform you about is Commit2happy.com, a website designed by one of our own Arcadia High School students. It was created to help fellow students with stress, anxiety, and overall emotional wellbeing. It has links to articles, resources, and hotlines to seek further help and assistance. Delaney Prater’s Commit 2 Happy website has been vetted and reviewed by both a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed marriage and family therapist.   


In addition to these new resources, please be sure to check your school’s counseling webpages. They also have resources and provide information about the counselors available at each school. The Arcadia High School counseling page, for example, has information and presentations about “How to Talk to Adults About Stress,” Mental Health Awareness,” “Stress Management,” and “Community Resources for Mental Wellness.”  

Dana Counseling webpage, First Avenue Counseling webpage, Foothills Counseling webpage.

 

While Arcadia Unified has taken a greater focus on the emotional wellbeing of our students and staff over recent years, we heard you, our students, staff, and parents, loud and clear in our most recent ThoughtExchange. You are concerned about the mental health and emotional wellbeing of our students and school communities, as are we. It is our goal and promise to you that we will continue our work in these very important areas.


In recent years we have implemented Restorative Practices district-wide and The Leader In Me character education and leadership model for all of our TK-8 students. This past year we added several additional counselor positions, and we now have a full-time counselor at every elementary school, totaling 23 counselors district-wide. I’m pleased to let you know that we will also be adding seven full-time positions next year: a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a full-time Site Support Aide at each of our elementary schools which will be under the supervision of the BCBA. We currently have Crisis Response teams at every school, which respond to and help with mental health issues and threat assessments, a District Coordinated Safe and Healthy Schools Committee, and a Multi-Tiered System of Support Committee. In addition to coordinated events, like Mental Health Awareness week at Arcadia High School, many of our schools are utilizing practices in their classrooms to build a positive community culture, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve the happiness and overall wellbeing of our students and staff. Plus, we have partnered with renowned researcher Dr. Alan Daly who is helping us study and improve our school culture and climate across the district through our “Better Together” initiative. Our commitment will not end there, however, as we know we have more work to do.


As more resources become available, we will continue to keep you informed. In the meantime, please know we have many dedicated staff and volunteers working on these committees to help guide and improve our practices. We ask that you also help each other by reaching out to someone you think may be in need of support, and please know you can always reach out to an Arcadia Unified teacher, counselor, principal, or staff member if you or someone you know may need help. Let’s continue to help each other, and let’s continue to make Arcadia a great place to live, work, and learn. I thank each and every one of you for your help and support in our mission to provide healthy, happy, and safe schools for our community.


Sincerely,

David Vannasdall

Arcadia Unified Superintendent

 

 

 
Horacio Sanchez, a well-known leader in mental health and resiliency, was the keynote speaker for our annual Community Forum/Family Engagement Night “Resiliency.” Mr. Sanchez discussed resiliency for students, maximizing brain function, helping students deal with stress and optimal health for student success.