Many individuals living with mental illness begin to experience symptoms early in life. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year. So in a classroom of 25 students, more than 4 of them may be struggling with mental illness. These difficulties can create significant barriers to school success and learning. In reality, undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions can affect a young person’s ability to learn, grow, and develop. Our hope is that families, communities, teachers, school administrators, counselors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and staff can collaboratively come together to identify and support students in need to promote student wellness in an effort to enhance social, emotional, and academic success and well-being.
Some warning signs may help you determine if someone you know is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. These may include:
For more information on Warning Signs, visit: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Risk Factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They cannot cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they’re important to be aware of. These may include:
For more information on Risk Factors, visit: The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
Protective factors are personal or environmental characteristics that help protect people from suicide. These may include:
If you are in a state of distress, reaching out is the first step to safety. Tell someone you trust how you are feeling. If you aren’t sure who you can talk to, click on the links below to be taken to dedicated crisis services.
How to Talk to Someone Who May be Struggling
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides helpful guidelines for talking to someone who may be at risk. If you think someone is thinking about suicide, assume you are the only one who will reach out. Here’s how to talk to someone who may be struggling with their mental health:
If someone says they are considering suicide:
Depression is more than just feeling down or having a bad day. When a sad mood lasts for a long time and interferes with normal, everyday life, you may be depressed. Symptoms of depression vary from person-to-person, but there are some common signs and symptoms:
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can reduce symptoms and provide relief. Treatment can include psychotherapy and/or medication. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
Some individuals who are depressed may think about hurting themselves or taking their own life. If you or someone you know is having thoughts about hurting themselves or considering suicide, please seek immediate help. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak to a 24/7 crisis center or dial 911.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to danger. It triggers the body’s automatic fight-or-flight response that protects us when threatened, pressured, or faced with a challenge. Anxiety is not necessarily a bad thing! It allows us to stay alert, focused, and can spring us into action. However, when anxiety is constant or overwhelming—when worries and fears interfere with our relationships and routine—it may be time to seek help. In addition to the primary symptom of excessive and irrational worry and fear, other common symptoms of anxiety may include:
Anxiety disorders respond very well to therapy. The specific treatment approach depends on the type of anxiety disorder and its severity. But in general, most anxiety disorders are treated with therapy, medication, or some combination of the two.
Coping skills are the strategies that we use to adjust to the stresses, changes, and conflicts we encounter in life. They help us to better manage and navigate painful or difficult emotions.
Self-care encompasses activities that we do deliberately to attend to and take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.
Emily Blackhurst, CSW firstname.lastname@example.org
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W. A. Y. Kind is a club for students and staff to collaborate about school wide wellness. Specifically, focusing on the elements of the acronym; WAY.
WAY Kind Club helps organize and develop multiple school-wide positive messaging campaigns throughout the year, focusing on kindness every step of the W. A. Y.