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2020 Mental Health in Schools Conference Goes Virtual!

Mental Health

2020 Mental Health in Schools Conference Goes Virtual!
by Carlos M. De La Torre


When an individual boards an airplane, one of the safety instructions that is given is to ‘place your own oxygen mask first before helping those around you’. Educators all over the country are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic more than ever now with a new school year. These effects include having to design a whole curriculum to be taught entirely in a virtual format. The uncertainty of the pandemic can certainly take its toll moving forward. ESC Region 19’s Mental Health in Schools Conference is tailored around helping teachers and administrators gain and develop tools to better their mental health in these trying times. “Given the events surrounding our global pandemic, we thought it was critical that this year's conference focus on our teachers” says Albert Villa, Project Manager for Behavior and Mental Health for ESC Region 19. “The fact that we have had to transition to a virtual learning platform has most certainly put an added amount of stress and anxiety on educators across our region. We want to provide them with two days of topics that deal with self-care.” Included in these topics are subjects such as The Art of Wellness, Developing Mindfulness, and even The Brain and COVID-19. The MHIS Virtual Conference will also feature Kevin Hines as the conference’s keynote speaker.


Kevin Hines is an award-winning brain/mental health and suicide prevention activist, entrepreneur, multiple award-winning filmmaker, best-selling author, international educator and speaker who reaches audiences with his story of an unlikely survival and his strong will to live. Two years after he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder (19 years of age), he attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge. He is one of only thirty-four to survive the fall, and the only one to regain full physical mobility. In his keynote at the MHIS conference, Hines will not only dive into his personal experiences but also present important methods and tools that have helped, not only him, but thousands of others on their journeys to improve their mental health.


The saying goes you can’t pour from an empty cup. It is equally important that educators take care of themselves before pouring into their students. “The task of creating a safe and supportive learning environment, even virtually, has never been more important for our children,” says Villa. “Ensuring that these virtual learning spaces will meet not only the academic but the emotional needs of students, must begin with teachers and other campus staff taking care of THEIR OWN need for health and emotional wellness.”


The Mental Health in Schools Conference kicks off Thursday, October 8 and goes through Friday, October 9. There are still available seats for the virtual two-day conference. To register, visit