Improving Student Health by Supporting Teachers in the Classroom

Healthcare district grant helps train teachers working with at-risk students

Mountain View, CA – Mental health remains a top concern parents have for their children. An estimated 20 million young people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, according to the American Psychological Association.

Student Health

Experts attribute some of these trends to the social isolation children experienced during the pandemic, but increased awareness has also helped support a larger conversation around the importance of mental health and the need for early intervention. A grant from the El Camino Healthcare District is helping teachers learn how to identify and address these needs in their students.

"As a society, we do not properly prioritize our coverage and treatment of mental and physical health problems," said George Ting, M.D., chair of the El Camino Healthcare District board of directors. "The irony is that while treating one person's physical problem certainly helps that person, and loved ones, helping a young person with mental health problems does not just change that person's entire life, it will help them better raise their children, and thus an entire future generation. It improves society for all of us."

The nonprofit Acknowledge Alliance has been at the intersection of this work for decades and this year is one of 11 youth mental health programs* funded by the El Camino Healthcare District.

"We have a long history focusing on 'social emotional learning' and mental wellness," said Ryan Magcuyao, director of development for the nonprofit. "We also go a step further by helping educators help their students so that together they develop the necessary character and strengths that make one able to navigate in the world among different types of people with respect."

Founded in 1994 as a mental health agency for youth, today Acknowledge Alliance focuses on developing resilience through counseling in K-12 schools in the Bay Area. The El Camino Healthcare District grant provides training for teachers in every elementary and middle school in the Sunnyvale and Mountain View districts so they can support students throughout the year.

"Educators are under significant pressure today," Magcuyao said. "More children have anxiety and trouble socializing, classroom resources remain scarce, yet school districts and parents still have high expectations. This grant addresses that gap and helps ensure that our counselors can support teachers through training, one-on-one support and in-classroom observance. By working with teachers in their classrooms we can help them be successful, which ultimately benefits students."

Ting added, "There is so much more insurance and so much more information and attention for physical problems. Mental health problems are not covered anywhere near adequately, and far too much is left untreated. Until there is a crisis, violence, a suicide, a shooting and so much more of what we see every day, then there is an outcry, but little done to help the root cause of these occurrences. We cannot make society better without first making its individuals mentally healthier. Treating mental health pays it forward; it is the gift that keeps giving. We can, and we must do more."

# # #

*The complete list of youth mental health programs funded by El Camino Healthcare District:

  1. Acknowledge Alliance - Resilience Consultation Program
  2. CHAC - Integrated School Based Services
  3. Cupertino Union School District - Mental Health Counseling Program
  4. Los Altos School District - Mental Health Counseling Program
  5. Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District - School-based Mental Health Services
  6. Friends for Youth - Youth Mentoring Services
  7. Mission Be Inc. - Mindfulness Training for Students and Educators
  8. My Digital TAT2 - Digital Literacy & Social and Emotional Health Online
  9. Caminar - LGBTQ+ Speaker Bureau
  10. Kara - Bereavement Support, Grief Education & Crisis Response for the Community
  11. Eating Disorders Resource Center - Support Towards Recovery and Getting Connected
About the El Camino Healthcare District

The El Camino Hospital District was established by voter approval in 1956 in accordance with California Local Hospital District Law. The purpose of the district is to establish, maintain and operate or provide assistance in the operation of health facilities and other health care services, provider groups and organizations that are necessary for the maintenance of good physical and mental health in the communities served by the district. The district, now known as El Camino Healthcare District, encompasses most of Mountain View, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, a large portion of Sunnyvale, and small sections of Cupertino, Santa Clara, and Palo Alto. The publicly elected El Camino Healthcare District Board of Directors approves tax dollar expenditures, including expenditures for the award-winning Community Benefit program. Community Benefit funds are granted each year to local nonprofits, schools and government programs that provide critical health services to the underserved. All district board meetings are publicly noticed, open to the public, and available for viewing on the district website.