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'Umbrella Project' to provide mental health training for 700 Kentucky educators

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Daviess County Public Schools
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Mental health experts and educators report increasing anxiety and behavior issues among children and teenagers over the past several years.

Daviess County Public Schools is hosting the 'Umbrella Project,' a mental health summit for educators on Aug. 2.

The stress and isolation of the pandemic increased mental health issues among
students across the nation. But Daviess County Public Schools Assistant Superintendent for Human Services, Amy Shutt says planning for the Umbrella Project started four years ago, and the first conference last year attracted 500 educators.

“We are seeing a larger number of students that are exhibiting behaviors of anxiety and depression," Shutt said. "Is it happening more or are we becoming a society where it’s more acceptable to talk about it?

“I will tell you that just in our schools we are seeing those behaviors be more prevalent than they’ve ever been before."

In addition to breakout sessions focusing on strategies to help students deal with mental health issues, some of the workshops will focus on wellness for educators.

There are a few spots open until the registration deadline on Friday, July 15, or earlier if the maximum capacity of 700 is reached.

The summit is open to anyone who interacts with students, including administrators, teachers, social workers, instructional assistants and school secretaries.

So far, school employees from 25 districts across Kentucky have registered.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans. She has worked at Rhode Island Public Radio, as an intern at WVTF Public Radio in Roanoke, Virginia, and at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Rhonda’s freelance work called Writing Into Sound includes stories for Voice of America, WSHU Public Radio in Fairfield, Conn., NPR and AARP Prime Time Radio. She has a master’s degree in media studies from Rhode Island College and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Rhonda enjoys quiet water kayaking, riding her bicycle and folk music. She was a volunteer DJ for Root-N-Branch at WUMD community radio in Dartmouth, Mass.
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