Middle School Info on Mental Wellness

Middle School Info on Mental Wellness
Posted on 12/16/2019

Suffolk Public Schools continues to build a stronger safety net for Suffolk teens by engaging parents and caring adults in important discussions about student mental wellness, teen depression and suicide.  Suffolk Public Schools began its outreach to all eighth- and tenth-graders during the 2017-18 school year.  

The division is partnering with The Sarah Michelle Peterson Foundation to initiate discussions in the classroom, staff room, and family room about teen depression. 

In January and February, 8th-graders will be presented with information from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, using the “More than Sad: Teen Depression” video designed to help students recognize the signs of depression in themselves or others, to challenge the stigma surrounding depression, and to learn how to ask for help. 

Recently, 10th-graders were presented with materials from Erika’s Lighthouse, a non-profit organization committed to eliminating the stigma surrounding adolescent depression, and empowering young people to take ownership of their mental health.  Erika's Lighthouse programs promote early identification and treatment of depression, which is the best hope in preventing suicide. 

Before student presentations at each school, the teachers and support staff will view the videos and discuss warning signs, what to say, and how to guide teens to help.  In advance of the student lesson, parents will preview what their students will be seeing so they can be prepared for discussions at home.

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.   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.

Link to printable PDF flyer. 

Schedule of Parent & Community Presentations:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 8 … King’s Fork High School at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Jan. 15 … Forest Glen Middle School at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 5 … King’s Fork Middle School at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 12 … Col. Fred Cherry Middle School at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 19 … John Yeates Middle School at 6 p.m.
  • Date to be Determined ... John F. Kennedy Middle School

For more information, please contact Anne McCoy at (757) 925-6750.



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.  SPS recognizes that many more students are struggling.

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