CHAH is fortunate to have a full-time, on-site Social Worker, Ms. Kenia Jeanniton, who supervises graduate-level students of Social Work during their academic-year field placements. Ms. Jeanniton designed a program in which these interns radically expand the scope of her work, allowing her to screen every student in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade for mental health issues. Our students have the opportunity to share their voices, to share their worries, to share their triumphs. The interns hold up a metaphorical microphone for those students, listen closely, and provide interventions that allow the students to be happier, healthier, and more comfortable in the classroom.
With the support of the school’s Principal, Mr. House, the program has expanded over the last few years. We now implement multiple types of interventions as deemed appropriate under the close supervision of Ms. Jeanniton. Our students are offered various forms of support, from counseling to therapy groups to inpatient care.
We are encouraged by the success we’ve seen in this initiative. Students are given space and time to share their voices, and because of this we know our students better, we understand their challenges, and we have a strong team of individuals who are closely monitoring their emotional states. We know our students who require close medical attention, we know our students who are experiencing challenges in the home, and we know our students who just need help feeling more comfortable in their own skin. We look forward to continuing and expanding this work, and truly appreciate New York City’s attention toward the mental health of our students.