“All persons with disabilities have the capacity to proclaim the Gospel and to be living witnesses to its truth within the community of faith and offer valuable gifts. Their involvement enriches every aspect of Church life.” ~ National Directory for Catechesis: Catechesis with Persons with Disabilities (no. 49) Washington, D.C.: USCCB, 2005.
One of the major initiatives of the 2014 OCS Strategic Plan is to celebrate and serve all students in our care and welcome new families to work with us to build more inclusive faith communities. Specifically, the Office for Catholic Schools, in consultation with the Archdiocesan School Board, the Executive Principals, and the Diversified Learners Committee and in accordance with the mission of Catholic education, will develop and promote the implementation of policies and procedures to maximize student admissions, classroom placement and instruction, and educational resources for diversified learners at the local school level. Mental Health needs are great and the Archdiocesan Mental Health Ministry Committee works with us to assist in reducing the stigma of mental health illness through education, advocacy and programs.
Resources to Open Doors
The Archdiocese of Seattle Inclusion Ministry site is a rich source of information for all aspects of mental health and inclusion. There is additional information at: Resources for Families and Resources for Parishes and Schools. To see mental health opportunities offered throughout western Washington, please visit the Archdiocese of Seattle Mental Health Resources to support Parish and School Faith Communities and the Mental Health Ministry Facebook page.
Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches you how to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training helps you identify, understand, and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. 1) The adult Mental Health First Aid course is appropriate for anyone age 18 and older who wants to learn how to help a person who may be experiencing a mental health related crisis or problem. The adult course is available in both English and Spanish. 2) The youth Mental Health First Aid course is primarily intended for adults to learn how to help young people experiencing mental health challenges or crises. It reviews the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents ages 12-18 and emphasizes the importance of early intervention. Find a course near you. En Español
NAMI BASICS OnDemand: NAMI Basics OnDemand is a free, six-session online education program for parents, caregivers and other family who provide care for youth aged 22 or younger who are experiencing mental health symptoms. NAMI Basics OnDemand is an adaptation of the in-person course offered in 43 states by NAMI affiliates. Register today: https://basics.nami.org
Mental Health America Mental Health America (MHA) – founded in 1909 – is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal. They offer a toolkit with back-to-school resources that could be used throughout the school year.
Mental Health Guides This section includes guides to the work of The Mental Health and Faith Community Partnerships, specifically, FOREFRONT Suicide Prevention, and NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Navigating a Mental Health Crisis document is a valuable tool from NAMI. This info-graphic calls us all to the importance of mental health care for all students.
Understood.org While there are many websites that have wonderful resources for parents, the DL Committee is pleased to recommend this resource for parents of children with Learning and Attention issues. The website is in both English and Español and includes a thoughtful Parent Toolkit.
Special Olympics of Washington The Archdiocese of Seattle and the Office for Catholic Schools supported the 2018 Special Olympics in Seattle. To continue this involvement in our schools we recommend service and extra-curricular opportunities provided by Special Olympics Playbooks intended for elementary, middle school and high school students. These are age-appropriate lessons designed to be taught in the context of class periods. Activities with ties to service learning are completed in a classroom or community setting, as part of a club, an afterschool activity (ie: Unified Drama, Unified Robotics) or a community based event and include involvement with local Special Olympics Programs. The curriculum is free; please log in to establish your account and use generously.