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Health Check Kids: New health initiative making the rounds in Rhode Island schools

By January 23, 2020February 2nd, 2021News, Press Releases

Read Article and watch the video here.


A new health initiative is making the rounds in our schools.

It’s the campaign called: Change Direction.

At Nathanael Greene Middle School in Providence, they’re fully engaged with signs around school showing the five signs — emoji’s — that may indicate someone isn’t emotionally well.

“We spend a lot of time telling young people how important it is to take care of their physical well-being and we have really reached a point where it’s important that we learn how to take care of our emotional well-being,” said Lisa Tomasso, vice president of strategy and public relations at HARI, the Hospital Association of RI.

HARI, along with the RI department of Health and RI Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals, bringing this mental health campaign to the schools.

“For me as a health educator I want them to have life-long learning goals and skills,” said Lynne Smith, the health teacher at the middle school.

“The big push is self-care, helping students — give them options. What does self-care look like, how to take care of yourself.”

“Big eye opener, huh? Yes, it’s a very big eye opener.

Knowing what to look for–the five signs that indicate something might not be right — being addressed in the classroom, and in practice.

“It’s really important to know the five signs, I’ve realized. I didn’t realize how important it was until I actually learned it,” said Tyler Blair, a seventh-grade student.

“I’ve learned how to help my friends when they’re feeling hopeless or when I see they’re agitated or their personality is changing,” said Morricia Bryant, another student.

“Recognizing the signs is so important because — and even just checking in with other kids is important because if you notice that something is up, you could essentially be saving someone’s life by just going up to them and asking, are you OK?” added Sophie Baldwin, another student.

This Change Direction campaign a difference-maker.

The Hospital Association of RI said this program is in ten school districts so far. And they’re hoping to expand its reach.