Across the state, a growing number of school systems are adding mental health resources through social and emotional learning. Two Indianapolis schools recently launched a new pilot program that addresses these needs.
Give an Hour is a national group that provides mental health help, largely through volunteer work. A partnership brings the organization’s curriculum to fifth and sixth graders at two Indianapolis schools.
Brenda Horn with the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana says girls are the focus of this pilot.
"When we support young girls with gender specific programming, they grow up to become strong, healthy and confident women," says Horn.
Suzanne Clifford, an advisor for the group, says youth in Indiana are more likely to consider and die from suicide.
"So how can we intervene earlier and much more proactively?" Clifford says.
Social and emotional learning can also prevent substance abuse and improve educational performance. Students will be at the center of the program's expansion, says Clifford.
"We know that stressed brains do not learn well, so we’re going to have them help teach the other students," says Clifford.
Organizers hope the model can expand to other underserved schools in Indiana.