Group shot with students, staff, and Secretary Qarni.

Secretary Qarni visits CHS to talk mental wellness

Students discuss mental wellness with Secretary Qarni.Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni visited Charlottesville High School for a round table discussion with students and staff to learn more about the variety of mental wellness initiatives at CHS.

Recognized as a leader in using a multi-strand approach to mental wellness, social-emotional learning, and intentional community building, Charlottesville City Schools has implemented a wide range of student-led inititatives, particularly at the high school. CHS students shared some of these efforts with Secretary Qarni, including the Teen Mental Health First Aid program, the Green Dot bystander training program, the Link Crew freshman mentoring program, CHS’s calming space, and partnerships with Region Ten Community Services Board and support services such as Y-CAPP.

Group shot with students, staff, and Secretary Qarni.The visit to CHS is part of a larger effort by the governor’s administration to shed light on mental health and suicide prevention support programs throughout the state during National Suicide Awareness Month. The Commonwealth’s new program, “Recognize. Talk. Act,” launched earlier this month, aims to equip people to recognize signs of crisis and offer help.

More on CHS mental wellness initiatives

  • Teen Mental Health First Aid: CHS was one of two schools in Virginia and eight in the US to pilot this national program last year. It teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and what they can do to support their own mental health and help a friend who is struggling.
  • Green Dot: CHS is one of two area schools to participate in this national program, launched at CHS earlier this fall. The goal is to train students, faculty, and staff in bystander intervention to help prevent instances of violence or harassment and to frame and set school norms more positively.
  • Link Crew: CHS has been participating in this national teen-to-teen mentoring program for several years.  Each year, returning CHS students apply to train and serve as mentors to a small group of ninth-graders, offering support and peer-to-peer guidance throughout the year.
  • Calming Space: Last year, CHS dedicated a calming space for students and staff. Students can get a pass to stop by the room for a few minutes when they are feeling stressed or angered. The room is stocked with tactile and sensory tools to help students re-center.
  • Partnership with Region Ten Community Services Board and Y-CAPP: Through a partnership with Region Ten and Y-CAPP, CHS is able to provide in-school clinic mental health services and therapeutic day treatments to students.

To learn more about social-emotion learning and other supports in Charlottesville City Schools, click here.

Related news coverage