More information about the EHM School Assembly Program
According to data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the average delay between the ONSET of symptoms and the first INTERVENTION is 8-10 years. That is a long time! Imagine that you broke your arm, or developed an itchy rash on your leg, but didn’t visit a doctor for 8-10 years.
Unfortunately many mental health concerns go undetected, and untreated, for several years. I personally struggled with anxiety, OCD tendencies, panic attacks, and later depression over the span of 11 years before I reached out for help in college.
There were two reasons I didn’t reach out for help earlier: (1) I was scared people would think I was weak, crazy, or simply a bad person, and (2) I didn’t know that there was an entire profession dedicated to helping people with my exact concerns.
The EMOTIONAL HEALTH MATTERS School Assembly Program helps young students (as well as teachers, staff, and parents) practice identifying, expressing, and managing strong emotions. We pay particular attention to ANGER, SADNESS, JOY and ANXIETY/FEAR. Each emotion is coupled with engaging stories, activities and musical examples. There is always a lot of silliness and laughter, as well as a strong sense of belonging and valuing each other.
I always encourage school principals to invite parents to attend this assembly program. Of course there are sometimes logistical limitations, but even if 10% of parents are able to attend it makes a big difference in helping reduce stigma and improve cultural norms surrounding help seeking.
Oftentimes schools use this assembly as an opportunity to improve their connections with local mental health resources. Occasionally, local clinics have offered to sponsor the school assembly program. The primary goal of this program is prevention and early detection to curb concerns long before a crisis develops.
I usually bring my own musical equipment (sound system, digital piano, microphones, etc.). I find that adding music to this program makes it so much more fun and exciting! I also believe that using music helps students remember the main message better (to reach out). I might also note that I enjoy it when a school is able to provide a projector, laptop, and screen because the program is slightly better when I can show some pictures while presenting the content.
I look forward to communicating with you about the possibility of doing a school assembly program! Usually the best way to contact me is through the Contact Form (below) and I will respond within 24 hours.
-Nate Page, PhD, LP