CPS Hosts Annual Mental Health Summit

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

More than 200 students and staff from across Chicago Public Schools convened at Malcolm X College to break the stigma around mental health through workshops, wellness activities, music and more. CPS Chief Health Officer Dr. Sofia Adawy Akintunde served as a keynote speaker and participant along with other CPS team members. Saturday’s summit is the second annual event and represents an early start to Mental Health Awareness Month in May. The Mental Health Summit, organized by the District’s Office of Student Health and Wellness, aims to provide healing-centered and trauma-informed ways of supporting students and breaking the stigma around mental health, especially as the District continues to support students as they emerge from the pandemic and other trauma. CPS has invested in additional staff, including counselors and social workers, to support students’ mental health and well-being. The District has increased the percentage of social workers by more than 60 percent over the last six years and last year, the District won a $15 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which will in part be used to boost school social worker recruitment, hiring and retention. As of March 2024, CPS became one of the first districts in the nation to stock all 634 schools, including options, charters, and contract schools with Narcan, an opioid antagonist. As of April 1, the District has trained 66 percent of staff in overdose prevention and Narcan administration in collaboration with Rush University Medical Center through the Safe Schools platform.

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