Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative programs bring resources, hope to teachers, community

Wulf James-Roby
The Daily Ardmoreite

Southern Oklahoma Memorial Foundation awarded Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative (ABHC) up to $10,000 to expand Teaching With Hope, a project aimed to provide mental health support to educators that was launched last fall. This project is expanding into an hour long, interactive professional development presentation and follow up resources designed specifically for educators and is available to schools and districts in southern Oklahoma. 

ABHC has partnered with Dr. JaHannah Jamelarin to bring practical mental health resources designed to support educators. These interactive professional development presentations are generally an hour long and can be integrated with other teacher development activities. The program also provides connections to follow up resources and support.  

This program came about because of a pattern that local physician Dr. Carnahan noticed in patients who were teachers last year. He saw a marked increase in anxiety and panic attacks, as well as feelings of disconnectedness, said Ellen Roberts, director of Ardmore Behavioral Health Collaborative.  

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Last school year, pilot programs were launched at Dickson Schools. One lower elementary teacher said the curriculum gave them practical solutions for fighting anxiety.

“I was so relieved to feel like I was no alone in my feelings of anxiety and periodic fights against panic attacks,” the teacher said. “I’m thankful for Dickson being proactive in the fight for mental and emotional health.”  

A middle school teacher at Dickson said they were having sleep issues, and did not realize that was because they were internalizing their sadness and fears.

“I was able to apply some of the exercises and begin sleeping better,” the teacher said. “Sometimes we think we are stronger than what we are and need a little insight to overcome our fears.”  

In addition to the resources for educators, ABHC partnered with Safe States Alliance to put together a community resource page that is not only more accessible via their public website, but also has support to be continuously updated. Part of the outreach initiative includes distribution of business card sized magnets.  Over 14,000 magnets have been distributed with more going out the door every day.  

Contact Ellen Roberts at eroberts@lighthouseok.com for more information on educator development, resource page updates or magnets, and ABHC in general.