2022 HEALTH CARE EDITION
Both Dallas and Richardson ISDs have programs that aim to address mental health challenges students face. The programs are focused on identifying depression and discouraging bullying. Programs in place
GreenLight Credentials is working with the district to develop an app that allows students to answer ques- tions related to interest levels and emotions, Brown said. Consent from parents will be required, Brown said. The rst year of the program is funded by a $200,000 grant from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. The second and third years will be funded by an additional $200,000 in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief, or ESSER, funds. ESSER funds are federal grants designed to help overcome the adver- sities created by the pandemic. The district wants to use the pro- gram as a way to encourage students experiencing depression to self-iden- tify and use the program’s resources, according to a DISD statement. “We recognize our role in helping students to be able to thrive in the learning environment,” Brown said. “We align what we do with the vision of our district, which is to ensure that all students succeed and they’re able to do that. And we know that if they’re suering from a mental health concern, they’re not able to thrive in the classroom.” Brown said the PHQ9 will assess the severity of depression in students. DISD ocials will then determine whether a child is in immediate need. Students experiencing depression of low to medium severity could be con- nected to licensed clinicians and psy- chiatrists at a youth and family center provided by Parkland. Richardson ISD provides suicide prevention awareness and curriculum to students in grades 6-12 through a counselor-led program called Time to ACT, which stands for acknowl- edge, care and tell. In earlier grades, the program focuses more on bullying
awareness and prevention, RISD spokesperson Tim Clark said.
About 18,600 students in grades 6-12 received suicide awareness and prevention les- sons this past school year, according to Clark. Margie Wright, executive direc- tor of the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas, said a focus in her 20 years with the organization has been improving eorts to help at-risk children. The Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas oers a free 24/7 hotline that is staed by trained volunteers. In addition, the crisis center coordi- nates with area schools to educate parents and sta on warning signs. The center also screens children for risk of suicide. “People don’t generally tell people about their feelings,” Wright said. “People ippantly make remarks about suicide, but [others] don’t take them seriously. With the screening for us, the young people reveal things that they wouldn’t do face to face.” Typically, around 15,000 students in school districts in the North Texas region are screened by the organiza- tion each year, according to Wright. She said, despite what year children are screened, a total of around 10% show some kind of risk. Not enough resources are in places to help children experiencing mental health obstacles, Wright said. The cri- sis center recommends reduced-cost counseling for clients, but Wright said more funding needs to be invested by lawmakers, and mental health needs to be taken more seriously in the U.S. When screening children, Wright said her organization is observing how children handle stress. She said
Richardson ISD provides suicide prevention awareness and curriculum to students in grades 6-12 through a program called Time to ACT (acknowledge, care, tell) led by counselors. • In grades pre-K-5, the program focuses more on bullying awareness and prevention. • About 18,600 students in grades 6-12 received suicide awareness and prevention lessons this past school year.
Dallas ISD is developing a tool called the Patient Health Questionnaire 9 to better identify and aid students experiencing depression. YEAR 1 • The rst year of the program is funded by a $200,000 grant from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas. YEARS 2-3 • The second and third years will be funded by an additional $200,000 in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. THE GOAL • The district wants to use the program as a way to encourage students experiencing depression to self-identify and use the program’s resources, increasing supported students from 12,000 to 12,360.
SOURCES: DALLAS ISD, RICHARDSON ISD COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
SOURCES: NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE, THE TREVOR PROJECT, TRANS LIFELINE, VETERANS CRISIS LINE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. The Trevor Project focuses on suicide prevention eorts among the LGBTQ youth community and can be reached at 1-866-488-7386. The Trans Lifeline is available at 877-565-8860. The Veterans Crisis Line is available by calling 1-800-273- 8255 and pressing “1.” Several nonprots oer 24/7, free hotlines for those who may be considering suicide. The National Suicide Prevention
larger events, such as a divorce in the family, may lead to more risk of sui- cide, but she added that occurrences, including bad grades or not making a sports team, may lead to dicult thoughts. “Those don’t sound big … [but] it doesn’t have to be anything that you or I would think of as a life event,” Wright said. “Things that don’t seem that big are pretty big at times. So you have to be aware of all that.”
For more information, visit communityimpact.com .
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