We recently spoke with Amanda Vellake, director of adult and continuing education about mental health and stigma.
Why did your organization become a member of The Anti-Stigma Coalition?
The BPS Adult Education Division’s programs and services are provided to adult learners who are in need of academic credentials and/or training that will better equip them to be self-sufficient and accountable members of our community. Many of these learners face challenges to accomplishing their goals. Among those challenges are mental health issues that could deter them if not addressed. Our instructional/advisory staff is well-trained in finding local resources to assist individual student needs.
How are people with mental health challenges impacted by stigma?
Upon enrollment in any of our programs, students meet one-on-one with an advisor to complete a comprehensive intake form. Many students reveal that they have tried numerous times to return to school but were prevented by their own fears and self-doubts. Building student self-esteem and addressing other mental health issues are critical components of success.
How does your company support mental wellness?
The BPS Adult Education Division has a full-time school psychologist who is based at our youth program site but is available to all students upon request. In addition, Advisors meet individually with students on a regular basis to ensure that they are coming to class and that they are aware of a wide array of health services available to them throughout the Western New York community.