Chartiers Valley implements the AHN Chill Room program for all levels

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They may not be able to take the proverbial cold pill.

But this year, all students in the Chartiers Valley School District will have the opportunity to walk through the Chill Rooms.

The district has expanded its partnership with Allegheny Health Network to provide an innovative K-12 support service. A pilot program took place at the high school for 2021-22.

The Chill Rooms are designed as quiet, soothing spaces, and each is staffed five days a week by a pair of AHN professionals, a school behavioral health educator and a behavioral health therapist, the latter in place on behalf of the students who need intensive and individualized social activities, emotional and behavioral support.

“We provide opportunities for students to develop their skills and learn about their emotions and how to regulate them, as well as coping strategies to manage stress or anxiety,” said behavioral health therapist Christina Cichon as she helped her colleagues Tara Deutsch and Izzy Cutler. a cold room at Chartiers Valley Middle School.

Cichon works with children in kindergarten through second grade at the district’s elementary school.

“Studies show that providing children, even as young as 4 or 5 years old, with the skills to manage their emotions helps them deal with stress and trauma that arises at different stages of their lives,” he said. she stated.

Angela Conigliaro, director of communications and strategic partnerships for the school district, pointed to a particular benefit of the Chill Room project.

“It’s really, really hard for kids to see a therapist, in general. The workload is incredible,” she said. “So the fact that these kids can come here and talk with therapists at school, the benefit that has for families, that can’t be calculated.”

Another facet of the project is the introduction of a Chill Mobile which will make three one-week visits during the school year. The specialized vehicle is able to serve approximately 400 students per visit, according to information presented by AHN to the Chartiers Valley School Board.

The presentation features a summary of Chill Room activity showing 5,086 total uses from August to May, including student visits, Mindfulness Week groups, professional development sessions and others services with faculty members.

In addition, the presentation outlines the goals for 2022, in addition to the expansion of the program at all levels in its second year of implementation:

• Pilot a Chill Mobile experience specifically designed for high school athletes.

• Provide at least one community/family outreach opportunity in the fall and one in the spring.

• Continue to explore creative ways to reach every student for at least one Chill Room exposure.

Harry Funk is a news editor for Tribune-Review. You can contact Harry at [email protected]

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