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UO team developing online mental health resources for rural schools

A team of University of Oregon researchers and community members have been working on developing an online version of mental health curriculum for youth in rural areas.

Posted: Aug 3, 2020 6:24 PM

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- A team of University of Oregon researchers and community members have been working on developing an online version of mental health curriculum for youth in rural areas.

"Mental health resources are fewer and farther in rural communities, so we're trying to identify a real need and fill that need," said Nichole Kelly, Evergreen Assistant Professor in Counseling, Psychology, and Human Services. 

Lincoln Middle School in Cottage Grove is the only school that's used this curriculum so far, but that was when the buildings were open.

"We picked middle school students because it is the age that school becomes particularly stressful -- it's the number one stressor among the average middle school student," Kelly said. 

The trick now, Kelly said, is converting the program into something that can be used remotely. 

The team of researchers received a $1.5 million grant to develop the mental health curriculum into an online resource for rural schools in Oregon and across the nation. 

"A significant portion of both students and teachers have a history of trauma, and you could think of the pandemic as an active ongoing traumatic experience for a lot of people," said Kelly. 

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