New program in Mercer County Schools hopes to address student stress

Published: Dec. 16, 2021 at 8:00 PM EST
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PRINCETON, W.Va. (WVVA) - Student stress is the focus of a new program at Pikeview Middle School in Mercer County.

Train your brain was developed by Co-founders of “You matter- I matter”, Michelle Toman and Barri Faucett. Say the main goal is to help students cope with stress by focusing on social and emotional needs.

“Mental health is a very important thing for our students that needs to be addressed. If we can meet their mental health needs then I think we’re going to be able to meet their needs more academically when we take care of their mental health also.” said Champions of Change Advisor, Amy Pierson.

Here’s how it works. Select students and staff are trained as champion changemakers to promote trust and connectivity within schools. It originates from the program developers understanding of what young people are going through.

“There’s so many kids right now that have really tough stories. There’s a lot going on in the world around us, not just with COVID. With the substance misuse that our world is experiencing, the opioid epidemic, whatever you want to call it. Everybody needs something hopeful to be able to hold onto.” said Toman.

Some positive outcomes are being reported from the training alone.

“We already have seen change in kids. We’ve had teachers and staff report to us significant change in kids after just a few sessions so it truly is beautiful to observe and I’m just looking forward to the continued change and connectedness as we grow.” said Faucet.

Pikeview Middle School reports eight teachers and around 25 students have been trained as champion changemakers. The groups meet once a month to share important messages with each other and foster a better sense of community in the school.

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