We want students to be able to communicate their needs and reach out for help - for themselves, or for a friend who is struggling.
Communication starts with listening. Most people think that communication is all about talking and being heard. But an important aspect of communication is listening; especially if a friend is struggling with something and needs someone to share their feelings with. Being able to communicate your own needs, and understanding the needs of others, are both important skills to develop in life.
If you or a friend feel overwhelmed or unsafe; it is important to communicate! Reaching out and talking to someone you trust is easier than you might think. Teachers, counselors, and school administrators are all available and willing to help. Resources are available to all students and families. Our schools can and will assist with access to support services. A problem shared is a problem solved.
Tips for supporting your child or teen:
Family can play an important role in helping a child or teen who’s feeling unwell, alone and ashamed. They are not to blame for their illness, but they may feel that they are, or may be getting that message from others. You can help encourage hope. Try to be as supportive, understanding and as patient as possible. The best thing any parent or family can do to support a child or teen is to reach out and create a strong support network. Any illness should be treated with love and unconditional support.
Warning Signs of Child and Adolescent Mental Health from the National Institute of Mental Health:
It can be tough to tell if troubling behavior in a child is just part of growing up or a problem that should be discussed with a health professional. But if there are signs and symptoms that last weeks or months; and if these issues interfere with the child’s daily life, not only at home but at school and with friends, you should contact a health professional.
Your child or teen might need help if he or she:
Often feels anxious or worried
Has very frequent tantrums or is intensely irritable much of the time
Has frequent stomach aches or headaches with no physical explanation
Is in constant motion, can’t sit quietly for any length of time
Has trouble sleeping, including frequent nightmares
Loses interest in things he or she used to enjoy
Avoids spending time with friends
Has trouble doing well in school, or grades decline
Fears gaining weight; exercises, diets obsessively
Has low or no energy
Has spells of intense, inexhaustible activity
Harms herself/himself, such as cutting or burning her/his skin
Engages in risky, destructive behavior
Harms self or others
Smokes, drinks, or uses drugs
Has thoughts of suicide
Thinks his or her mind is controlled or out of control, hears voices