January 26, 2022
State Superintendent Tony Thurmond Announces “A Trusted Space” Initiative to Address Mental Health Needs in California Schools
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond today announced A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth, a film-based program to help address increasing mental health challenges faced by students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Created by the nonprofit All It Takes, the program provides educators and school staff across the state with strategies to build safe and trusted spaces for K–12 students.
Recognizing that COVID-19 has impacted our lives for almost two years and has caused anxiety, grief, stress, and a myriad of losses for our school communities, State Superintendent Thurmond and the California Department of Education (CDE) have worked to expand school-based health services. These include the formation of the new Office of School-Based Health Programs; the addition of a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Consultant; and sponsoring legislation to recruit 10,000 mental health clinicians. Thurmond, who worked in social work and school-based mental health, has vowed to help California lead the way in providing for mental health needs in our schools.
“As we recognize the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of our school communities, we know that this important work takes partnership and collaboration from steadfast partners who are dedicated to help our most vulnerable children, youth, and staff,” said Thurmond. “Our collective goal is for California schools to have robust and quality SEL programming as well as the resources to provide critical support to our educators. A Trusted Space and the accompanying easy-to-use curriculum will help educators and staff—including bus drivers, teachers, and administrators—feel heard, validated, and supported and will provide strategies for schools to be better equipped to support the students they serve.”
Based on research and neuroscience, A Trusted Space shares how trusted relationships are the most immediate and potent antidote to the damaging effects of stress and trauma that so many students, families, teachers—and all of us—are navigating. The film features experts in trauma-informed education, equity, and innovation in education. It also addresses the importance of building trusting relationships and shares more about hope and the opportunity we have ahead of us.
The CDE and CalHope will make available a 60-minute mini professional development program that includes a 40-minute film featuring leading experts in education and science and a research-based curriculum, Creating a Trusted Space in Five Days, designed to help teachers and other youth-serving adults work together with students to create trusted atmospheres where healing and learning happen naturally. It will be available free to all K–12 California educators, school staff, and youth-serving adults.
The film and curriculum follow another critical mental health support program launched in October, Angst: Building Resilience, which was provided to middle and high schools throughout California through partnership with the CDE, iNDIEFLIX Education, the California Department of Health Care Services’ CalHOPE program, and Blue Shield of California’s BlueSky Initiative. Angst: Building Resilience and A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth are both easy-to-use, free resources that can be implemented immediately with ease across schools in the state.
“Continued unknowns are deepening insecurities, increasing mental health stressors, creating trauma, and pressing against every coping mechanism we have,” said Lori Woodley, founder of All It Takes. “And through it all we have a responsibility to our youth, and to ourselves, to build trust, model resiliency, and offer hope so healing and learning can happen naturally.”
“Our CalHOPE Student Support Initiative is helping to advance positive social and emotional learning environments in our school communities, both in-person and virtual,” said Dr. Jim Kooler, CalHOPE Program Director. “A Trusted Space will help our cause as we continue supporting children, youth, families, and teachers during the public health emergency.”
“Data show that depression and anxiety among children and youth has doubled globally since the start of the pandemic,” said Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California’s Surgeon General. “And we know that the same stress that leads to negative mental health outcomes can also lead to negative physical health outcomes now and in the future. In that way, mental health is the canary in the coal mine. We must use science for prevention and early intervention. The science shows that safe, stable, and nurturing relationships and environments actually help to regulate our bodies’ stress response and can prevent some of the harm that ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can create. Educators are a very, very important part of our solution.”
Registration for this free program is now available at the A Trusted Space website . The film, produced by Lori Woodley, Karin Gornick, and Skerritt Creative, is expected to reach more than six million educators and students across the state in 2022.
About All It Takes
Based in Ventura County, All It Takes has served over 200,000 California students, educators, and parents through cutting-edge experiential SEL development training and programming over the last 11 years. All It Takes recognizes the enormous job of educators and the infinite potential of every student. All It Takes seeks to make navigating the journey a healthy one for all involved and believes that social-emotional literacy is not a given. It can’t be memorized or “told” to do; it needs to be taught, modeled, practiced, and reinforced, always building on itself, like all other subjects in education. It needs to be held as essential to our youths’ long-term well-being and whole-life success.
“All It Takes equips youth and those who serve them with essential emotional intelligence skills to successfully navigate their lives and support their communities.”
About the California Department of Education
The CDE oversees the state's diverse and dynamic public school system and collaborates with educators, schools, parents, and community partners in an effort to prepare students to live, work, and thrive in a highly connected world. Part of this collaboration includes a commitment to increasing mental health services to support the socio-emotional well-being of all students. CDE’s Project Cal-Well, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, strives to increase awareness of and improve the mental health and wellness of California’s students and provide training for school personnel to detect and respond to mental health issues.
CalHOPE builds community resiliency and helps people recover from disasters through free outreach, crisis counseling, and support services. CalHOPE is a Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and run by the California Department of Health Care Services.
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Tony Thurmond —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100