CSISD to introduce new curriculum focused on mental health

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - Starting in the fall College Station ISD will introduce a new curriculum that will address mental health and wellness.

District officials say it’s their way of making sure students know how to cope with things like depression.

“We’re excited to offer something in this area to our kids that we feel is high quality,” said Penny Tramel, the district’s Chief Academic Officer. “There are so many more demands put on them that they really don’t have time to just be and think.”

CSISD’s new program came as a result of recommendations from the districts’ School Advisory Council. It took about a year to be researched and developed by Texas A&M associate professor, Dr. Elisa McNeill.

“She had her class do research and found that some of the most vulnerable times or opportune times to start honing in on mental health are at the 7th and 8th-grade level,” said Tramel.

College Station isn’t alone; a number of districts across Texas are starting to teach students how to spot the signs of depression in themselves and others.

Next year’s 7th graders will be the first to take the program in their Health class. Learning what depression looks like and how to seek help.

“It’s kind of how to self-analyze some of their behaviors, to say ‘I might need some help’ and to advocate for that help when they need it,” she said.

This is also the first year CSISD has hired two mental health specialists that are currently working with students and faculty.