Dr. Sharon Hoover, Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health, describes how students are wrestling with mental health challenges; Stephen Massey, Director of the Health Action Alliance, discusses a playbook to guide businesses...
Dr. Sharon Hoover, Co-Director of the National Center for School Mental Health, describes how students are wrestling with mental health challenges; Stephen Massey, Director of the Health Action Alliance, discusses a playbook to guide businesses looking to get ready for the next public health emergency; and ASTHO has gathered examples of policies members have developed to promote emergency preparedness work.
This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Thursday, September 29th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.
Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.
So what we're hearing from our frontline educators is that more than ever, they are seeing students with what we might call disruptive behaviors.
Dr. Sharon Hoover, co-director of the National Center for School Mental Health, tells us what it's like in classrooms where students are wrestling with mental health challenges.
They are not getting along with their peers. They are doing things that are disruptive to the classroom, whether it's walking out of class or being more fidgety—you know, when we think of those elementary students being more fidgety, not being able to attend to the learning environment.
But also, there are number of reports of students who are just more withdrawn, socially isolated, what we might call symptoms. Those may be our kids who are suffering from anxiety or depression.
One approach to the problem is to help the helpers—that is, provide support and training to teachers, school counselors, and even first responders. But Hoover says the solution requires more than offering them another yoga class.
We hear from teachers, "Please don't just tell me to do more yoga or to just take better care of myself. You need to help shape the environment I'm teaching in to make sure it's less toxic and less stressful so that my wellbeing is taken care of."
So, that's really the shift that we've seen moreso in the last few years, really enhancing the personal wellbeing approaches, but also expanding to include those organizational factors.
Hoover says getting public health and education departments to work together is essential.
We have expertise within our public health and behavioral health systems for how to better support our adult workforce, for how to reduce burnout. We need to be partnering to do that. And it's not just partnering in terms of training efforts, but really kind of taking a look at how do we finance and resource and staff these efforts, and where are their points of intersection where we can kind of leverage the systems to support one another.
Hear more from Dr. Hoover and learn how Wisconsin is building partnerships in a new episode of the Public Health Review Podcast, coming soon everywhere you stream audio.
Businesses are thinking of ways to prepare for the next pandemic.
Stephen Massey is director of the Health Action Alliance.
Businesses really were on the front lines of the public health response, delivering information to their workers, adjusting conditions and their factories and stores and warehouses to keep their workers and customers safe. And it really was the ingenuity of the business community that allowed our country to operate during those darkest days of 2020 and 2021.
The Alliance was created by the Ad Council, the Business Round Table, the CDC Foundation, the de Beaumont Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Massey says the organization worked with companies like Land O'Lakes to help them survive the pandemic by showing them how they could advance public health.
And they recognized that, to get back to work, families and communities needed to be vaccinated and they needed to fight disinformation. So, we worked closely with Land O'Lakes to help them develop a comprehensive workplace vaccination policy. making it easier for their employees to get vaccinated on-site and offering paid time off to working parents who wanted to vaccinate their children. And this proved to have a major impact on the rural communities where Land O'Lakes operates because vaccination rates in those areas were trending lower.
Massey says the Alliance has developed a playbook to guide businesses looking to get ready for the next public health emergency.
All of the lessons from COVID-19 are still fresh in our minds, and many businesses around the country still have their emergency response teams in place. You know, now is the best time to capture the learnings from COVID-19. Now really is the best time to cultivate and strengthen the relationships that may have been forged between business and public health during the pandemic. And we believe now is the time to continue to build trust between business and public health before it slips away.
You can download the Pandemic Preparedness Plan for Business using the link in the show notes.
Finally today, ASTHO has gathered examples of policies members have developed to promote emergency preparedness work.
O'Keyla Cooper has more.
Public health preparedness is more critical than ever. While COVID-19 is still present and ever changing, public health professionals also struggle with new challenges such as monkeypox, increasing firearm, homicide, and widespread heat waves. Learn more about how states and territories are strengthening their emergency preparedness efforts in ASTHO's latest blog found in the show notes.
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That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO News and information.
I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.