(PSS) — On Monday, April 12, 2021, the Public School System’s Mental Health Program, Project Haligi Aware, held a professional development titled “Mental Health Matters” with Tinian Elementary and Tinian Jr./Sr. High Schools’ teachers and staff to communicate the importance of mental health. Haligi Aware continues to promote mental health advocacy and efficient self-care strategies, coping skills, and stress management through a variety of services, including the professional growth of educators.
Tinian Elementary School principal Lou Connie Manglona said, “One of the reasons I asked the mental health team to come to Tinian is because we have had many struggles with our staff and community in the last few months. We are happy to partake in this presentation that expands more on coping skills and strategies to combat life’s daily stressors. We want to provide for our children in the best way that we can, so we need to be mentally and physically healthy.”
Haligi Aware prepares teachers and administrative staff to recognize and respond to students’ behavioral and mental health issues. A goal of the program is to improve crisis response, intervention, and access to school-based and community mental health services.
Tinian Jr./Sr. High School principal Dionne Santos said, “This is not the first time that we’ve had support from the Mental Health team. We’ve had previous professional developments offered by Haligi Aware’s mental health specialists. However, I am grateful for the team coming here today and demonstrating how to effectively manage stress, especially with the two crises that we have gone through in such a short amount of time. I think that it is essential to not only support our students, but we also have to be secure with ourselves and aid our mental wellness. I know that my staff is working hard, but they’re also still working through many things due to these crises.” Haligi Aware is designed to support all students, staff, and families throughout the CNMI who may be experiencing feelings of sadness or hopelessness to work towards resilience and mental wellness.
Haligi Aware Tinian community manager Frank Lee Borja said, “I'm happy to have Haligi Aware provide timely, relevant, and much needed strategies for our school teachers and staff. As part of our Tier 1 efforts to raise awareness and education, it's vital for our teachers to recognize that they matter - as frontliners in education, their mental wellness and health is critical.” Haligi Aware will implement behavioral health methods that help give access to reliable services within the school and community.
Haligi Aware Wrap Around manager Brandon Nicolas stated, “As educators, every day in the classroom is different, the sun isn’t always going to shine, and it’s not always a smooth flight. Since the start of this pandemic, our teachers and staff have been beacons of light, for the students and the community. I want to commend the great work that our teachers continue to do and remind them that they need to take care of themselves. Although we have an obligation to our students, we have an obligation to ourselves and our loved ones. Your family and your children deserve the best of you. It may be difficult, but we’ll get through this together. Project Haligi Aware is here to help.”
Haligi Aware supports the PSS goal of providing a safe and caring learning environment that supports all students’ behavioral health and academic achievement. Haligi is the Chamorro term for the pillar of the Latte Stone, and like the haligi, we are here to support you.
In the months to follow, Haligi Aware will continue to provide a multi-tiered system of support for the optimal mental wellness of our students, teachers and community.
If you or someone that you care for needs immediate support, please call:
• PSS Student and Support Services at 664-3822. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
• System of Care at 664-4604. Office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800) 273-8255 which provides counseling and support 24 hours a day.
• If it is an emergency, call 911 or go to the CHCC Emergency Room.