With additional pressure being placed on students due to the pandemic and other stressors, Gale, a Cengage company, is helping the North Bend School District 13 (NBSD) support mental health and wellness. Located in North Bend, Oregon, the district is using Cameron’s Collection and Cameron’s Camp for Wellness on the Gale eBooks platform to help students better understand their mental health and provide guidance to strengthen their social and emotional learning (SEL) skills.
More than 4,000 students can privately and anonymously access the digital collections from the district’s library website, 24/7 from any location or device. School staff, including counselors, can also access the resources to assist students and their family members.
Nationally, one out of five teens suffer from mental health challenges, and more than 75% don’t seek help.i With COVID-19 and other stressors impacting students every day, it’s important that they are equipped to navigate emotions in a healthy way.
“When I first heard about Cameron’s Collection, it resonated with me because I was that teenager who wouldn’t have sought out a counselor,” says Laurie Nordahl, librarian at North Bend High School. “I wouldn’t have opened up to a staff member or taken a book with a mental illness topic to the library desk to check out – I know there are students just like me, and I wanted resources for them.”
Providing mental health and wellness resources through Gale supports the district’s mission to provide for the health and safety of students by increasing social-emotional, mental and behavioral health support.
“The real ‘gotta-have-it-right-now’ moment came when we lost a student to suicide,” Nordahl said. “It devastated our school community, and after the initial surge of support, some students were still processing. If a student was up in the middle of the night thinking about these things, I wanted them to have access to these quality, vetted resources.”
NBSD’s Gale eBooks collections include:
- Cameron’s Collection: This collection focuses on helping students cope with everyday stressors and stay in the present moment. More than 90 digital titles span a wide range of topics including: ADD, ADHD, alcohol, anorexia, anxiety, bulimia, caregiving, cutting, depression, divorce, drugs, eating disorders, homelessness, OCD, self-injury, stress and suicide. Created in partnership with the Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation, this collection aims to inspire students affected by mental illness to seek help.
- Cameron’s Camp for Wellness: More than 100 eBooks provide targeted guidance on sensitive issues for K-5 students, teachers and counselors with topics on managing emotions, teamwork, problem-solving, family issues, staying positive, being safe and much more. The core foundation of this collection is helping students recognize and manage emotions, social skills and safety.
The collections were created in honor of Cameron Gallagher, a bright and talented young girl battling depression and anxiety whose dream was to raise awareness and prevent the unnecessary suffering from stigma. At the age of 16, she suddenly passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition after crossing the finish line of a half marathon, a goal she set which helped her cope. Gale, in collaboration with the CKG Foundation, created Cameron’s Collection to ensure schools are equipped with educational resources to help struggling teens.
“The big thing for me is letting kids know that they’re not alone,” Nordahl explained. “I have always tried to make the library not only a warm, welcoming place, but the place students can get answers and help for anything – I feel like Cameron’s Collection fits right into this philosophy.”
“We’re inspired by educators like Nordahl who work tirelessly to provide valuable resources to their students,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager at Gale. “While it isn’t a substitute for a professional, Cameron’s Collection offers essential content to support the mental wellness of students who aren’t ready to seek in-person help or want privacy while they explore.”
Read more about North Bend School District’s success with Cameron’s Collection and how they secured funding for the collections.
For more information, visit Gale’s SEL webpage.
The American Consortium for Equity in Education, publisher of the "Equity & Access" journal, celebrates and connects the educators, associations, community partners and industry leaders who are working to solve problems and create a more equitable environment for historically underserved pre K-12 students throughout the United States.