YMHFA: Riley School

Riley Hospital School Program

Until this time, I had never thought about a hospital having a school. The fact is that if we are legally obligated to educate our children 180 days per year, and it is probably unhealthy for a child to be constantly worried about his or her health, having a school program in a children’s hospital makes perfect sense. This group of educators at Riley Children’s Hospital (an Indiana University Health entity) school program joined me for a seminar in Youth Mental Health First Aid and national certification.

I was in awe of the love and dedication these educators have for their students. Not only do they have to know how to teach children, but they have to be able to handle serious health and mental health issues that many public school teachers will never encounter. They have to work, up front and first hand, with parents and doctors who are often concerned about life and death situations. They have to be prepared for any situation and know when it is time to step aside at any given moment for whatever and whoever may happen to pop up. Teachers working in children’s hospitals can’t have ego or power issues…, and I learned from this group of people that the love they have for these suffering children far outweighs any kind of selfishness that might pop up.

Riley class poster

It takes a special type of person to be able to sustain a teaching career at a children’s hospital, and the school program faculty and staff at Riley who I was able to provide the Youth Mental Health First Aid seminar for, were great examples of the high quality of person needed for this type of work. Many knew much of the information we teach and were gracious and really great participants in order to learn the parts they did not know and to be able to become certified as Youth Mental Health First Aiders. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate their kindness and level of participation.

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