Counselors are being trained to recognize signs of mental health struggles in campers under a new initiative in New Hampshire to make summer camp more accessible, New Hampshire officials said.
The state’s education commissioner, Frank Edelblut said the new program, funded by federal COVID-19 relief aid, has partnered with 10 staff members from mental health facilities across the state to work with camps in the community, WMUR-TV reported Tuesday.
Jodie Lubarsky from Seacoast Mental Health Center said that the training has already started and that it’s been helpful.
The intent was not to train counselors to be mental health interventionists, but to give them foundational skills about how certain behaviors might manifest in children and when it would be appropriate to reach out to staff or camp directors to get additional support, Lubarsky said.
After two summers of COVID restrictions, interest in camps for children has increased.
Jeanna Still, of Greater Manchester Community Health, said, “The camps do have our folks on site, and they do have somebody to lean on and they know where to go to.”
Still also said the program has already provided eight camps the training, which will help bridge the gap between mental health services and the local community.
“They know they can say, ‘OK there’s somebody here from the mental health center. I can ask them how do I get an intake, how do I refer a family, how do I get this family get what they may need?'” Still said.