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U-E Staff Undergoes Training on Youth Mental Health Through "Project 375"

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Teachers and administrators at Union-Endicott High School underwent mental health training Monday afternoon thanks to a national organization founded by an NFL star.

New York Giants’ wide receiver, Brandon Marshall, and his wife, Michi Marshall, founded Project 375, a mental health awareness organization, to give people the tools to help those who might be suffering from a mental illness.

The organization recently started to focus on schools, training teachers how to spot signs in their students that they might be struggling mentally.

Nearly 30 staff from U-E participated in the Youth Mental Health First Aid Training.

“We want to equip teachers with more tools for their toolbox. We want to equip parents and teachers and different individuals in the community. We want to help them identify signs and symptoms of a child that may be in distress.” - Michi Marshall, Project 375 Co-Founder

Approximately 20% of youth suffer from severe mental disorders across the country, but here in New York, the U-E School District is paving the way by becoming the first in the state to hold this type of training.

“The safety of our students and our staff is paramount, and sometimes schools for some of our kids are safe havens.” - Dr. Suzanna McLeod, U-E Superintendent

Dr. McLeod adds that the Union-Endicott school board expanded funding years ago to increase mental health supports like adding more guidance counselors and social workers.

Over time, they’ve noticed a positive difference.

“The metrics we look at here are things like our graduation rate, how many children are reading on grade level, passing their classes, and all of those metrics have increased.”

The district decided to expand on those efforts by inviting Project 375 to the school since the trainings are led by the couple who have a first-hand experience with mental illness.

The organization was founded after Brandon Marshall was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in 2011.

“When he was diagnosed, we had no idea that he was struggling with anything, let alone in silence by himself.” - Michi Marshall, Project 375 Co-Founder

The Marshall’s decided they needed to do something, to help those who might be living in the same shoes.

“We realized there’s a lot of people who don’t even know that they have a diagnosis, a diagnosable mental illness, and a lot of people who are struggling and suffering and living with a mental illness without anyone else knowing.”

Project 375 has already held 16 school trainings, and has 12 more lined up in the next few months.

The couple is hoping to spread the word and continue the conversation to destigmatize mental illness.

“Really inspire hope in individuals that you can be healthy, and you can be loved, and you can be successful, and you can be exactly who you are and have a diagnosis.”

For more information on the organization, click here.