TRAILS (Transforming Research Into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) kicked off its statewide expansion effort with a Detroit training at the end of January. Despite less-than-ideal road conditions, 70 mental health professionals attended the event held at the Charles W. Wright Museum of African American History.
The all-day training included a mix of presentations and small-group activities centered around cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness – cornerstones of the TRAILS Program. Attendees learned ways to apply psychoeducation, cognitive coping, physical coping and mindfulness, gradual exposure, and behavioral activation to help school-aged youth struggling with depression and anxiety.
More than half in attendance are on the path to become certified TRAILS coaches who will eventually have the opportunity to work alongside school professionals. Together they will facilitate skill-building groups within the schools to help youth struggling with anxiety and/or depression. In sharing TRAILS approaches and techniques, these dedicated mental health providers will provide support until school professionals are comfortable leading their students independently.
This training was the first step for Southeast Michigan coaches who will now work with a personal TRAILS consultant to help them bolster their cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness knowledge. This follow-up support is phone- and web-based to allow for maximum flexibility and TRAILS coaches will practice therapy skills on an identified patient within their current caseload.
The day was orchestrated by Elizabeth Koschmann, Ph.D., TRAILS Program Director, along with support from numerous TRAILS team members. This included TRAILS consultants who had the opportunity to meet the future TRAILS coaches with whom they will work.
In addition to professional development, the training provided participants the opportunity to network and share experiences with their colleagues. The museum exhibits were also open to attendees during breaks and lunch.
The next TRAILS training will be held in Grand Rapids this spring. Trainings in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan will following this summer and fall, respectively.
TRAILS is a program under the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center. To learn more about TRAILS, visit www.trailstowellness.org.