ASHEBORO (Feb. 19, 2019)
Randolph Community College, Randolph County Public Health, and the three local school systems are joining forces in the form of workshops for both professionals and parents about substance use disorders and mental health issues.
Randolph County Health Department Director Susan Hayes recently reached out to RCC Director of Workforce Development Wanda Beck, citing RCC’s yearly symposium on substance abuse and mental health, which is often standing room only, and looking for a way to partner with the Randolph County Strategic Plan in mind.
The committee that plans the annual symposium, which includes staff from the Sandhills Center, Insight Human Services, and the Partnership for Community Care, then met with Hayes along with members of the Asheboro City, Randolph County, and Uwharrie Charter school systems to come up with a plan.
“We wanted it to be twofold,” Beck said. “We wanted to help professionals that are now working with children who have been traumatized by families who have substance use disorders and mental health disorders, and that’s how we came up with the ‘Understanding Trauma’ classes. The second part of that was prevention, so we decided to do the Parent Awareness Workshops (PAWs) so we can make parents more aware of what’s going on with their kids and help them before they get into substance use disorders or mental health issues.”
The “Understanding Trauma” class will empower educational professionals to build resilience in the children they serve by giving them the tools to recognize the signs and effects of trauma. Children who live in families with substance use disorders and mental health issues take on a set of behaviors and symptoms that play out in a variety of settings. With this training, educators and administrative staff will acquire the skills necessary to create a trauma-informed environment. This training will utilize the ACEs questionnaire (Adverse Childhood Experiences) to increase awareness and will provide local resources for Randolph County children.
Two faculty and/or staff members from the Uwharrie Charter Academy, Asheboro City, and Randolph County school systems — 84 in total — are expected to attend the classes with the hopes they will return to their respective schools and pass on what they have learned. The classes also will be videotaped and provided free of charge to the schools for further professional development.
“As a school system, we’re excited for our staff members to attend these workshops because we see more and more students coming in that have had adverse experiences,” Randolph County Schools Student Services Coordinator Erin Starr said. “What you see and how they act in the classroom — to know where that is coming from is very powerful.”
Led by Shannon Harty with Evans-Blount Total Access Care, the class is Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6-9 p.m., Feb. 19 and 21 in room 307 of the Archdale Campus and Feb. 26 and 28 in rooms 103/107 of the Continuing Education and Industrial Center (CEIC) on the Asheboro Campus with dinner provided.
The cost for the class is being paid for by a grant from the ABC Board and funding from the Randolph County Strategic Plan.
“We are willing to look at the possibility of offering more of the ‘Understanding Trauma’ classes for other professionals in the community,” Beck said. “Hopefully, we may be able to offer continuing education credit for that.”
RCC and RCPH also are presenting several “Parent Awareness Workshops” (PAWs) at local middle schools and high schools in March.
The free workshops are designed to increase parent awareness of the types of drugs and paraphernalia their child may encounter. Parents will learn about signs and symptoms of substance use, as well as local resources that are available. Additional topics will include: tobacco and eCigs, youth mental health, suicide prevention, social media, and internet safety.
The first workshop is Tuesday, March 5, in the media center at South Asheboro Middle School. Providence Grove High School will host the next workshop Thursday, March 7, in room D124. On Monday, March 18, Randleman High School will host a PAW in the media center, and Wheatmore High School will host a workshop Thursday, March 21, in room G223. The final workshop, which will be a Hispanic presentation, is Tuesday, March 26, at North Asheboro Middle School.
Parents can attend any of these workshops no matter what school their child attends.
“We met with the three superintendents, and we came up with these schools to try to represent each area of the county, so that there would be at least a school close by to make it easier for the parents,” Beck said. “We’d love for parents to come to these because the information is amazing that they’re going to be receiving. I wish, as a parent, that I had gone to something like this. It’s going to be very eye-opening for some of them.”
All of the PAWs are from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with dinner provided between 4:30 and 5:30 and the workshop beginning promptly at 5:30.
To be sure of a seat, parents should register by calling RCC at 336-633-0268, though there will be registration at the door. Parents are asked to find child care for their children, if possible, to enhance learning.
The cost for the PAWs is being paid for by a grant from the ABC Board and funding from the Randolph County Strategic Plan.
“Because of the ‘Resilience’ movie, there is a lot of discussion about how adverse child events affect children,” Hayes said. “More and more children are ending up in foster care. We’ve got a lot of children and a lot of professionals in the schools having to deal with children who have been through trauma. We hope this will lead to a better understanding of what children have had to deal with and what some adults have dealt with as children and help them know where the resources are.
“As far as the parent awareness workshops, we’re hoping they all understand these are the things that are going on in their young person’s life. Ultimately, it’s an increased awareness and understanding of issues they are facing.”
Coming up ...
The “2019 Substance Abuse & Mental Health Symposium: What’s the Move?” is slated for 8 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Friday, May 10, in the JB and Claire Davis Corporate Training Center in the CEIC on the Asheboro Campus.
Topics will include substance use disorder, including vaping, drugs, and alcohol; human trafficking, and youth mental health and suicide.
“The last two years, we’ve focused on the opioid epidemic,” Beck said. “This year, we’re focusing more on mental health. We’re seeing so many of those issues — a lot of them coming out of substance use disorders. We always try to talk about current trends.”
Printed certificates and Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be provided at the end of the session.
Providers of support services will be on-site to provide information and answer questions.
Breakfast and lunch will be provided. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. To register, call 336-633-0268.
RCC gratefully acknowledges the grant support of Randolph Health Community Foundation, an endowment funding the health and wellness projects of community nonprofits.