Published Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), the largest provider of licensed outpatient community-based mental health services in Westchester, provides state- of-the-art, evidence-based mental health treatment to over 4,000 Westchester residents each year. WJCS professionals offer a variety of trainings to educate school staff and parents so they have the knowledge, tools, and strategies to identify mental health challenges and risks in youth. WJCS also provides educational, mindfulness, and self-care trainings for adults and school staff.


One in 5 adolescents suffer from a mental illness and adolescent depression has increased 41% between 2006 and 2014 in the U.S. alone. This workshop will:

• Educate participants about Adolescent Development and the warning signs and symptoms of mental disorders
• Help participants differentiate between 'typical' adolescent development and emerging or existing mental illness
• Provide tools/strategies to enable individuals to support these youth and refer to appropriate professional help
• Destigmatize mental illness

TRAUMA 101 (1 Hour)

This workshop will introduce participants to the impact of trauma on individuals using the CDC- Kaiser research study, ACES, as a foundation. This study notes the high prevalence of trauma in the general population and the correlation of trauma exposure to negative health outcomes across physical, social and emotional functioning. Understanding of how trauma may manifest in various settings will be discussed, as well as the impact of the pandemic on individuals. It will help individuals to be sensitive to behaviors that may be caused by trauma and for organizations to become ‘Trauma Informed’. Attendees will develop an understanding of the impact of trauma and strengthen trauma sensitive response repertoire.

*The above workshop can be modified to a specific audience such as:

  • “Trauma-Informed Practices for Teaching and Supporting Students”
  • “Trauma-Informed Practices for Teaching and Supporting Students Through the Pandemic”
  • “Trauma-Informed Practices for Staff Re-entering the Workplace”


This above workshop can be modified to include additional supports for school staff. It will help staff to be sensitive to behaviors that may be caused by trauma and support schools to become ‘Trauma Informed’. It will cover all the same information as ‘Trauma 101’.


Secondary trauma refers to the duress an individual experience when working with individuals who themselves are undergoing significant stress. Those working with individuals who are constantly under stress can experience symptoms of trauma. Left untreated, secondary trauma can cause significant disruption to the lives of individuals and detract from their ability to conduct their professional responsibilities. Secondary trauma training provides techniques to deal with the emotional toll of an individual’s job, recognize the warning signs for those experiencing trauma and offers resources on where to go for help.


This workshop will demonstrate the benefits of mindfulness and demystify it. Participants will learn and explore mindfulness exercises that will enable them to self-regulate and balance their lives and work.

YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID (6.5 hours virtually or 7.5 in-person)

Youth Mental Health First Aid® is the help offered to a young person experiencing a mental health challenge, mental disorder or a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate help is received or until the crisis resolves. Mental Health First Aid® does not teach people to diagnose or to provide treatment.

The Evidence Based course is designed for adults who regularly interact with adolescents (teachers, school staff, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, etc.) and introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents while educating them
on typical stages of adolescent development. Most importantly, the course teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. This course can be offered as a ‘Blended Learning’ – this allows staff to do 2.5 hours of pre-work and receive the remainder of the training virtually in 4 hours.

ADULT MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID (6.5 hours virtually or 7.5 in-person)

Similar to Youth Mental Health First Aid but targeted to supporting Adults experiencing mental health challenge, mental disorder
or a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate help is received or until the crisis resolves.


This workshop will help teachers and district personnel navigate the stress and anxiety of this pandemic – not only for themselves but for their students. It will:

  • Define anxiety 
  • Identify what leads to stress and anxiety 
  • Anxiety management skills for teachers and school staff
  • Anxiety management skills for the classroom 
  • Self-care skills


Parenting with Love and Limits: Explores how stress and trauma effect behavior and how parents can improve communication with their children while fostering resilience. Learn how to set limits, stay calm, and get on your child’s level. Empower yourself to parent with love and feel more confident communicating with your child.

Parenting: One Step at a Time: Learn hands on approaches to do at home with your child while learning what positive parenting is all about. Add to your “toolbox” with new parenting skills to encourage desired behavior and see more positive outcomes in the future.

Mindful Parenting: (For Parents of Teens but can be modified for younger children) Engages parents and caregivers in Mindfulness Tools and Coping strategies to use particularly through COVID 19: The Three Minute Breathing Space, Mindful Listening and Communication, Gratitude. Explores why/how mindful parenting can help by acknowledging grief, loss of routine, limited socialization, etc. Stresses Self-Care, Mindful Self Compassion and Loving-kindness for Parents.

Please contact Paula Santa-Donato at [email protected] to learn more about the school staff and parent training workshops above.


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