Welcome to The Link

Dr. Rodger’s Reflections:

Giving Attention to Your Mental Health is the Greatest Form of Self-Care: 

Often times when we talk about self-care, we think about physical appearance-getting our nails done or hair cut.  With mental illness on the rise, now is as good a time as any to ensure that we are giving substantial attention to our mental wellness as well as the mental wellness of those we serve and lead. In this month’s issue, take a journey learning more about how we can give attention to our mental health. Thank you all so much for your partnership. Please share and subscribe!

For May, we are focused on mental health awareness.

“Just because no one else can heal or do your inner work for you doesn’t mean you can, should or need to do it alone.’”       


A Profile in Success

In this issue, we would like to recognize Shelancia Daniel, M.Ed., Executive Director of Creativity Shell. The Creativity Shell is a nonprofit organization that teaches classes such as sewing/textile arts, cooking, building and other creative trades to students in their private studios, libraries, schools, ABA therapy centers, the juvenile justice system as well as shelters that rescue children from homelessness and human trafficking.  All of their classes are designed to teach children essential life and practical skills.

Using Creativity to Address Youth Mental Health Awareness Month: May 1 – 31, 2021

Many would agree, the COVID pandemic was a surreal experience. Within a matter of weeks, the world as we knew it was different. Adjusting to the new normal was a struggle for both introverts and extroverts alike. When one side agreed on A, the other was adamant to agree on B. One of the hardest struggles was the battle between in-person and remote learning.

Preventing Trauma and Youth Suicide During COVID-19 and Beyond

HCDE’s Center for Safe and Secure School partners with Mental Health America of Greater Houston (MHAGH) to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training.

MHAGH “works with 28 school districts, representing nearly 100 schools from throughout the greater Houston region to 1) identify and implement best practices to empower school personnel with the knowledge they need to prevent mental illness among students and to ensure early identification and intervention for those exhibiting signs and symptoms of behavioral health concerns; 2) Helps schools to create trauma-informed environments to address adverse childhood experiences that are linked to health outcomes in both childhood and adulthood” (MHAGH 2021). MHAGH reports that in Texas, there is 1 school counselor for every 450 students. Nearly 2x the number recommended by the national association of school counselors. In Houston ISD there is only 1 counselor for every 1,604 students. Given this context MHAGH believes that a school-based system of care is essential.

COVID Has Been Rough on Kids. From Clinginess to Self-Harm, Here’s How to Help.

Harris County Department of Education’s Center for Safe and Secure Schools works closely with Mental Health America of Greater Houston in efforts to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid training to teachers and administrators.

This article addresses how badly the COVID-19 pandemic has affected kids’ mental health? According to the article, Mental Health America of Greater Houston recently held “listening sessions” with students, parents, teachers and administrators in the 28 Houston-area school districts that work with its Center for School Behavioral Health — and what they heard was alarming. Dr. Jamey Freeny, the center’s director, shares ways that parents and other adults can help kids who are struggling.

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health Shares Resources for Mental Health and COVID-19

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health is a long-time supporter of Harris County Department of Education’s annual Head Start Healthy Minds, Healthy Families Conference and recently awarded a $20,000 grant to HCDE to supply counseling services to Head Start children and their families. The Hogg Foundation envisions a future in which all people in Texas thrive in communities that support mental health, achieve health equity and promote well-being. As a result, they work to ensure that communities are informed.

Mental Health Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic On Youth

Harris County Department of Education provides a myriad of programs and services including School-Based Therapy Services, serving more than 7,000 students each year who struggle with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities and other challenges. Working on school campuses throughout Harris County, HCDE’s team of therapy specialists are highly trained to meet the unique educational challenges faced by these students—and help them achieve.

HCDE Team Member Spotlight

Typically, in this section of “The Link” we acknowledge a current member of the Education and Enrichment team; however, HCDE recently lost a champion of children’s mental health late this past year. We thought it fitting to recognize someone who spent 27 years at HCDE supporting children’s mental health needs.

Calendar – May 2021

Here is a list of upcoming events.

June 8, 2021 – 13015 – Capturing Kids’ Hearts!

June 23, 2021 – 13092 – Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

June 23, 2021 – 13037 – The Grant Budget: It’s Not Just About the Math

The Link Reads

We created a feature section in the Link just for you. Tell us what you are reading and why. Post a picture on Twitter of you and the book that you are reading along with the title, author, and your district and tell us why you chose it!

Stretch Your Dollar with Educator Discounts

Each month we will feature a few businesses where educators can stretch their dollars. This month we feature Museum of Natural Science Houston – find their customized field trip packages. It’s easy to visit any of their three locations – Hermann Park, Sugar Land, or the George Observatory – and customized field trip packages allow you to theme your day based on what you’re studying.


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We’d love to hear it! Send us an email at dbreaux@hcde-texas.org.