In healthcare, if you want to attack a problem, the earlier you catch it, the better your chances. That’s the thought of a local non-profit, Haley’s Voice of Hope, it’s a suicide awareness group that for the past six years has been working to get more training and awareness into local schools.

And it’s not like you can just walk in the door and have someone say, yep, we’re going to do that.

Lisa Acierno with Haley’s Voice of Hope, talked to us about the group’s years of work to expand mental health training for school administrators, teachers and even students. The Acierno’s lost their daughter Haley in 2017 to suicide, and ever since, they’ve been working to raise money and launch special programs targeting Hillsborough schools. This past school year, the group distributed 150,000 brochures on bullying, sexual harassment and mental health in Tampa schools. They’ve also sponsored special training sessions like this one for school administrators. Acierno says it is now working to get brochures and hopefully a training program called Prepare Two into Pasco and Pinellas schools. It’s a trauma response training course for school counselors and psychologists.

It depends on what students are affected by whatever kind of trauma happened and how they go about responding to that. And, I mean, we didn’t realize how much of a need there was for this and how many school districts really want this.

One in five adults suffer from mental illness. That is a very sobering number. All the more reason to expand resources in local schools and beyond. The state of mental health around the nation is the focus of tonight’s special, and we certainly hope you join us for that. On seat in Tampa, Jason Lanning, Spectrum News.

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