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Natural Helpers Program to ‘adjust’ service, selection process

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IN light of the Covid-19 restrictions on public school campuses, the Community Guidance Center-Systems of Care will “adjust” its service and selection process for the Natural Helpers Program.

Launched in 2018, the program was initially implemented at Dandan Middle School, Francisco M. Sablan Middle School and Rita H. Inos Jr./Sr. School on Rota.

Kimberly Mendiola, CGC-Systems of Care licensed mental health counselor, said the program allows students to help other students.

She said most children are more likely to ask help from their peers before they request assistance from an adult.

She added that the Natural Helpers Program is based on a simple premise: that within every school, an information “helping network” already exists.

The Natural Helpers Program teaches  students mental health skills “so that when someone reaches out to them with a challenge, they know how to help that person or connect to higher help, like a counselor,” Mendiola said.

The goal is to disseminate accurate information to students who need help, she added.

Mendiola said in selecting Natural Helper students, the program conducts a school-wide survey. Those selected will then undergo mental health training.

For this school year, however, the Public School System is conducting  online classes, and only a few selected students will be required to attend in-person classes.

Mendiola said possible adjustments to the Natural Helpers Program is “currently being discussed.”

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