Mental Health Initiatives

Dear Newton South Families,

I hope this note finds you well.  I am writing to outline a number of mental health initiatives and community opportunities that are planned for the next few months.  As I communicated in the fall, most mental health professionals believe that now is the appropriate time, following a tragedy, to present educational programs focused on various aspects of mental health.  I hope that you take a moment to review each of the opportunities, and I encourage you to talk to your child/children about these programs and to attend those offered to the entire community.

Just Think: Teens Making Smart Choices Expo
Wednesday, January 22nd at Newton North, 5pm to 7:30pm for the entire community

This is a multi-year effort by the Newton North PTSO and many community organizations to help parents/guardians and those who work with teens guide the teens in making good decisions that will lead to a long, happy, and healthy life.   It’s a fun gathering of many non-profit organizations that support teens and families in Newton and provide educational and prevention information and constructive activities.  For a full list of presenters and the schedule please visit http://www.northptso.org/

Newton Youth Summit III
Wednesday, February 5th, Brown Middle School from 6pm to 9pm

Mayor Setti D. Warren and the Newton Youth Commission invite teens and adults to attend Youth Summit III for an evening featuring Kevin Breel, a 20-year-old comedian and mental health activist. The focus of the summit will be youth and adult communication, difficult conversations and solutions from Youth Summits I and II.  For more information please visit: www.newtonma.gov/youth; call: 617-796-1426 or email: youthsummit@newtonma.gov.

On Campus Enrichment Programs at Newton South

Throughout the year we will continue to provide on-site enrichment opportunities for our students.  Planned and coordinated by Housemaster Donna Gordon, our students design and facilitate presentations about issues that impact their lives, including gender issues, sexual orientation, mental health awareness, conversations about race, and other topics. Upcoming in March and April we will provide sessions on eating disorders from Multiservice Eating Disorders Association (MEDA) as well as other mental health related topics.  These sessions will be available to students in the lecture hall throughout the school day.  We will announce each session later in the spring.

In addition, on March 2nd, Rich Catrombone is presenting a workshop on teen dating relationships and violence prevention that will run during the day in the lecture hall.

Suicide Prevention Workshops
February 25th through 28th in all English classes 

All students will experience a one-block suicide prevention workshop between February 25th and 28th in their English class. A trained team comprised of a member of our faculty and a Newton South student will present this workshop.   We will be supported throughout these four days by staff from the Riverside Trauma Center.   The workshop will be based on the Signs of Suicide curriculum and will include additional resources from the Mayo Clinic.  There will also be a presentation for parents and guardians on Monday, February 24 at 7:00 PM at the War Memorial at City Hall.

As our custom, if you would prefer that your child/children not participate in any of these programs please contact your house office.

It is our hope that this comprehensive approach will provide students numerous opportunities to learn more about mental health issues and to access support for themselves or their friends if needed.  As always, if you are concerned about your child/children please contact the appropriate guidance counselor so we can work together to support our teens.

Thank you for your continued support.

Best regards,
Joel Stembridge, Principal