Moving into second semester and the deep of winter can be a difficult time for students, especially considering the events of last year. For many, anniversaries of emotional events can resurface intense feelings that might be surprising. We want you to know that the entire faculty is aware that students might be struggling, and that we have multiple opportunities for everyone to get the support they need.
Coping Groups – last year, some of our students and faculty found it helpful to work with Riversides counselors in a small group. We would like to offer this opportunity again this year. Students interested in being a part of a coping group should email or talk to their guidance counselor. We have found that these groups especially work well with people who share a common bond (for example – a group of friends, or a club, or a team) rather than students who don’t know each other, so we will be happy to work with students who would like to be in a group together.
SOS – we have completed training our Senior and junior classes in the “Signs of Suicide” program, and half of our Sophomore class. We will complete training for Sophomores and Freshman in wellness classes a little later in second semester. So far, the training days have been busy and mostly calm; through the screening process we are identifying about 5% of our students for follow-up conversations, which is below what many other schools experience. Anecdotally, our guidance staff is reporting that students seem more willing to discuss mental health issues – both their own and/or their friends’– as a result of this program. The SOS program has certainly helped normalize conversations about mental health.
Just Think: Teens Making Smart Choices expo – on Thursday, January 22, from 5:00 to 7:30 pm, our friends at Newton North are hosting an exhibit of community resources that promote positive decision making for teens.
AWARE – a group of Newton South students founded a club (AWARE) to help the school better address issues of mental health. They will host an all-day forum, including numerous guest speakers and presenters, on April 15. More details forthcoming.
Community Resources – Newton Cares is a coalition for suicide prevention and mental health sponsored by the City of Newton. Their website lists numerous community resources – including suicide prevention hotline contact information, and is located here: Newton Cares
Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about your child, please contact your guidance counselor or housemaster.
Thank you, as ever, for your partnership.