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UCCS helping educators manage COVID-19 stress with mental health town hall

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Posted at 8:12 PM, Jan 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-15 22:18:49-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, mental health remains a serious concern, especially for educators dealing with the strain of online learning, debates over reopening, and individual safety concerns.

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs helping them rebound by partnering with the National Institute of Human Resilience to offer a virtual town hall featuring a mental health workshop. GRIT-4ED is a free five-hour training designed specifically for educators and those working in the school and education environment.

While it's geared toward K-12 teachers, the university said it's open to the entire community. During the training session, educators and community members will learn how to cope with COVID-19 stress and build resilience.

"Whether it be the virus, things happening at the Capitol, things happening around race in our own community. Those things weigh on individuals, it's not like you stop living that life and then go to work. Those things that happen in your personal life show up in your work life and that weighs heavy on people. As more and more things pile up, we don't have the ability to cope in our natural ways which often are our social networks which have been really limited," said Dr. Cory Notestine, Colorado Springs School District 11.

He is one of many educators participating in the town hall next Tuesday (Jan.19).

"My interest in it was to one see the resources available to educators, and how we might be able to expand that and make it available to them because we believe in District 11 that the resilience of our staff is equal to the resiliency of our students. The focus of the well being of our staff is taking a center in the work we are doing right now to make sure they have the tools to not only teach in the online environment but the tools to be able to cope," said Notestine.

The university hopes the town hall will help teachers struggling to adjust and adapt to their new environment and those feeling the effects of social isolation.

"There are just some many people that work in the education community that we hope this particular town hall will speak to the challenges and needs of these individuals who are struggling in the response to COVID-19," said Valerie Martin Conley, Dean of the College of Education, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

The workshop aims to provide people with the skills to build individual and community resilience against COVID-19.

"I want them to walk away feeling like we care, I want them to walk away feeling like they are not in this alone, I want them to walk away knowing we are committed to our partnership with them," said Martin Conley.

By participating in the town hall, Notestine says it will help not only teachers but their students to succeed in the classroom.

"A program such as this can teach the skills for an individual to be successful then they can use that as a modeling example and launching point for their students to learn those skills as well," said Notestine.

For those interested in participating in the virtual town hall, click here to register.