8th-Graders to Discuss Teen Depression

8th-Graders to Discuss Teen Depression
Posted on 03/30/2018

Suffolk Public Schools is expanding the same student mental wellness outreach offered at high schools to include all 8th grade students in middle schools. 

The division is actively bolstering its student mental wellness curriculum and building a stronger safety net for Suffolk teens by engaging parents and caring adults in a new, division-wide initiative. Partnering with The Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation, Suffolk Public Schools is starting conversations around a video created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to educate staff, teens and the community about teen depression. These discussions are the latest phase of an initiative the school division is undertaking to enhance support for students’ behavioral and mental well-being. 

Mental well-being is an issue across the country, Virginia, and Suffolk as headlines increasingly link teen mental wellness to tragic events. Since 2006, teen suicide rates in the U.S. have been steadily increasing. Nationally, nearly 1 in 5 teens has reported seriously considering suicide in the past year, and depression is the single greatest risk factor for suicide. As hard as it is to say, nearly every city in Hampton Roads has suffered the loss of a teen by suicide in recent years. Suffolk Public Schools recognize that many more students are struggling.

"More than Sad: Teen Depression” is a video designed to help students recognize the signs of depression in themselves or others, to challenge the stigma surrounding depression, and learn how to ask for help. All Suffolk 8th-graders will see the video in their geography class. A trained mental health facilitator along with school guidance counselors will then lead a discussion about depression. A companion version of the video and adult discussion will be shown to middle school teachers and support staff, and to parents and the community before the student discussion at each school. Adults will learn about warning signs, what to say, and how to guide teens to help.

Anyone who works with teens such as coaches, community sports directors, youth pastors, activity directors, and scout leaders is invited and encouraged to attend any of the parent and community discussions.

Schedule of Upcoming Parent & Community Presentations:

  • Wednesday, April 11 at 6 p.m.  - John F. Kennedy Middle School 
  • Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. - John Yeates Middle School 
  • Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. - King’s Fork Middle School 
  • Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. - Forest Glen Middle School

 

NOTE: This parent/community presentation is an adult discussion covering the information students will receive in their classroom. It is not intended for young audiences as sensitive content is discussed. 

For more information, please contact Cheri Hinshelwood, communications specialist, at (757) 925-6752.

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