ROME, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Just like many other districts, Rome City School District is focused on mental health. They’re collaborating with Connected Community Schools to offer Mental Health First Aide courses for the community and are urging their faculty and staff to take them so they can pinpoint when a child may be going through something.

Amanda Jones, director of counseling services at Rome City School District, said she’s been with the district for about six years and has noticed a change in mental health. “I think we’re seeing a definite increase in mental health concerns and issues with students, but not just with students — I think we’re seeing it with staff, I think we’re seeing it with families.”

So, they’ve had to come up with new ways to get more people educated on addressing these issues. Melissa Roys is the co-executive director for Connected Community Schools. They’re collaborating with Rome City School District to offer Mental Health First Aide courses. “Mental Health First Aide is about learning basic mental health needs, learning about signs and symptoms, is it a crisis situation, does someone need immediate needs, have you talked to someone who is depressed or in a crisis, how do you kind of de-escalate someone,” said Roys.

Jones said the classes are open to anyone, but they’re really encouraging their staff to take them. “I think it’s important for everyone to be prepared because students are going to connect with different adults,” said Jones. “They may connect with a bus driver, they may have a special relationship with a clerical staff in the attendance office, the nurse, kids find connections everywhere.” Jones added she wants kids to also feel comfortable going to a staff member if they are going through something.

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