Ventura County based non-profit addressing the mental health crisis facing our schools
All It Takes, a Simi-Valley based non-profit, has released a six-part documentary aimed at both students and teachers.
It’s called, A Trusted Space, Meeting the Moment. The six-part documentary series aims to offer educators and students practical tools to address the challenges they face since the pandemic.
"COVID made the hard times exist for everybody, not just certain pockets of kids or certain types of communities where we saw more need," said Lori Woodley Langendorff, the former school counselor who founded All It Takes, a Simi-Valley based non-profit, who made the films.
She says the pandemic highlighted how mental health impacts all of us.
"COVID laid bare that 100% of us are vulnerable to emotional stressors, to elevated anxieties and depression. And, you know, there was a lot of well, 'that's for those kids or those adults or not me'. And COVID made it clear that it can be any one of us," she said.
She continued, "And before COVID, things were already getting bad. I started All It Takes in 2010 because as a counselor, I was seeing what was concerning me. I was seeing a lot more inability for students to make a decision. Inability for students to be accountable for what they created, whether they achieved an A or achieved an F, they did it - and it was shifting from, 'I got an F - they hate me, they don't like me'... and I was seeing that from my early years as a counselor to 2010 - and I was really concerned."
14-year-old High School Student Matthew Megrish took part in a program run by the non-profit.
"It kind of shows you that you're really not alone and that a lot of people around you struggle with similar things as you do," he said.
He explains some of the practical tools that he learned.
"One of my favorite activities, it was I think it was called Cross the Line or Step Over the Line, something like that. Laurie would be sitting somewhere and she would ask us questions. And then there was a line going down the middle of the room. And if you've done something like that, if you felt something like that, like the question she asked, you would step over the line and you just got to see like how many people you would be able to relate to and how many people are going through like similar things," he said.
He says he was surprised by some of the results.
"I think one of [the questions] was, 'Have you ever thought about suicide' and just seeing like how many people stepped over the line? I didn't expect that many people to step over the line. I really didn't," he said.
Megrish was alongside his teachers on the program – and says they’ve all learned ways to better support each other.
"Our principal and our vice principal asked us for some advice what we feel like the school could do to help students improve their mental health and just feel safer at school. Students were able to share their voice and what they feel like could help them and the other students," he told KCLU.
The films are funded by the State through the Cal-Hope initiative, and are available at no-cost to teachers in California.