A recent audit by the New York State Comptroller’s office is finding a couple local school districts, one in Tioga and one in Chenango County falling behind in Mental Health training for staff.

The audit results reported this month by Thomas DiNapoli’s office shows Waverly and Unadilla Valley had completed zero of the 12 components of mental health training recommended for staff.

Books with globe on the school desk

The audit “Mental Health Training of the New York SAVE Act” sampled 20 school districts and found most did not provide mental health training to all staff for the 2020-2021 school year by the September 15 deadline.

The Comptroller’s office acknowledges the COVID pandemic has delayed some district training programs.

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The 16-page audit reports six of the 20 districts did not offer training or offered training that did not include the 12 recommended components:  Obsessive/compulsive disorder, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, substance abuse disorders, how to access crisis support, mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, suicidal behavior, trauma and stress related disorders and to whom to turn.

The Comptroller says:

“School personnel are often the first to notice if a student is having mental health challenges, and they need effective training to help them understand the signs and symptoms early on.”

The Democrat says his office found much of the vital training was not taking place for everyone from the superintendent to the substitute teacher.

Many of the districts cited a lack of monitoring to make sure staff had completed the training.  Others said the COVID-19 pandemic and the return to school after the shut down readjusted focus to getting students back into the classroom and mental health training may have fallen by the wayside.

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