Wellness | It's ok not to be ok
September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month.
Our school is committed to keeping our students safe. Suicide is a complex public health issue that can be prevented, and this month-long recognition aims to raise awareness about suicide and the various effective prevention strategies: knowing the risk factors, where and how to access resources, and eliminating the stigma of mental health needs.
Through awareness, we are more equipped to help prevent tweens and teens from self-harm, and to promote well-being, life satisfaction, and health.
It's ok to ask for help
In the context of this month dedicated to suicide prevention, our teams, under the leadership of our wellness coordinator, are bringing awareness on how critical it is to know and model that it is always ok to ask for help. As a community, we need to reduce the stigma that many of these risk factors carry, including the stigma around mental health and needing help. Modeling how to ask for help and encouraging your teen to seek support is one critical skill you can work on as a family; it takes a village to destigmatize and encourage open dialogue about the natural ups and downs of our emotional states, how we rely on each other and sometimes on professional help.
We know that protective factors and hope are essential, too, and can feel more accessible as we focus on things we can promote rather than on things we try to avoid: building relational safety with our teens, creating an environment where they can feel seen, cared for and understood, where they feel they belong, helping them find resources and professional support to know where and who to turn to…but also participating as a community in education about mental health, in assisting teens to develop problem-solving and coping skills, a sense of purpose and agency. That’s why we are working as a school, with the teachers, the Vie Scolaire Team, the DEIB and the College Counseling on curricula, classes and activities that directly address these topics (one example is the Science of Well Being class that started this week, see below).
We want our students to know that they are not alone, that there is hope and help, that we look out for each other. And while it could take time to learn how to ask for help, in the meantime, we can also practice ASK to help (Acknowledge - Support - Keep in touch).
Promoting wellbeing with SKYE, the therapy dog and more
Promoting wellbeing is one of the areas of focus of our wellness coordinator, Anne Bargiacchi, as well as our College Counseling and DEIB teams. Anne completed a training with Yale University to teach an adaptation for middle and high school students* of their most popular course ever, “Psychology and the Good Life”. The course called the Science of Well-Being for Teens, teaches what the science tells about well-being and living a ‘good’ life, as well as how to engage in evidence-based behaviors and strategies we can use to reduce stress, boost our mood and feel happier with our life and in our life.
*It is an optional class for the 9th graders during the first semester. It will be followed by another optional class during the second semester, about the “Science of Generosity”.
If you or someone you know needs help, please know you are not alone. We will share more resources with you throughout the month, but please find below a list of critical links:
- New National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Call or text 988
- Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to reach a volunteer Crisis Counselor
- The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ Young People): 1-866-488-7386
- It gets better
- Trans Lifeline: 1-877-565-8860
- Teen Line: Call 1-800-852-8336 (from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. PST) and teen link helpline