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Youth Mental Health

This series focuses on students' mental health, the sources of their distress, and how schools and communities can help.

Donation sparks program that helps students get counseling

The program’s name, “Bridging the Gap,” comes from the decision to use the funds to help families pay for amounts not covered by insurance
Katee Aubil, speech language pathologist, reads a book about anxiety as part of Social Thinking, with a little help from kindergartner Drake VanLente

Students Go for the Green in Social Learning

It's easy being green. But blue, yellow and red? That's another matter. Special education students are learning to express how they feel and to identify others' emotions through a curriculum that helps develop social skills. High school junior Heather Arney...
Columbine mass-shooting survivor Austin Eubanks spoke at a Rockford High School forum on opioid addiction last fall

Foundation Commits $90k to Teen Mental Health

With problems of teen anxiety, depression and suicide on the rise, the Rockford Education Foundation decided it was time to step up its efforts to address the worrisome trend. The result: a $30,000 grant for each of three school years...

Typical Teen Stuff or Serious Mental Health Issue?

For a while now, high school English teacher Sheri Gilreath-Watts has been teaching from Judith Guest's novel "Ordinary People," about a suicidal boy home from a mental institution. "I'm hoping to connect my students to the emotional distress that can...

Helping with Stress at the Holidays

When Karen Hoekstra was in high school, there was no "be nice" committee, and talking about mental illness just didn't happen, she said. "Had there been those sort of programs they have here today, it would have saved me a...

A Friend’s Message on Suicide: ‘This is For Real’

Before the opening credits to a film about suicide, freshman Noah McGee took the stage at Cedar Springs High School to share his painful, personal experience with such tragedy. At the podium, football jersey tucked into his jeans, Noah shared...

Poetry Helps Angry, Distant Student Emerge as School Leader

54th Street Academy junior Brianna Darin spoke about her battle with depression and anxiety on National Public Radio’s program “State of Opportunity,” explaining whatit’s like to be a child who feels like there’s no hope -- and how she...

‘If It Saves One Person’s Life’

Evan Kobayashi was an excellent student, a talented baseball player and a considerate classmate. The high school student was “a humble, fun-loving, gentle soul,” said his mother, Kelli Kobayashi. “He was very kind-hearted and always put others ahead of...
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Taking on a Tough Topic: Severe Stress in Students

So many things in life can cause stress, including for teens and young people. School News Network reporter Charles Honey sees this first-hand. He writes about schools in the Kent County Intermediate School District and witnesses issues facing students...

A New Kind of First Aid – for Student Mental Health

If a child has green snot coming from his nose, he might be taken to a doctor, right? asked Karyll Russell, Sparta Middle School counselor. But when a child is showing signs of anxiety, depression or other mental-health disorders, people...

‘Everyone Struggles with Something’

When it was bad, it was really bad, Jared Walejewski said. “I was so lonely,” the Rockford High School senior recalled of his depression as a freshman, when he’d sit for hours in his basement in front of a computer....

Responding to the Mean Girl

Parent Sophia Gork played the "mean girl" to Marcia McEvoy during a Kelloggsville Public Schools workshop on helping students get along at school. "Loser," Gork snarled. "Thanks, I didn't know you cared," responded McEvoy in a light-hearted tone of voice. Targets of...

Students Speak Out About Mental Health

For students battling anxiety and depression, sometimes the greatest stress comes from seeking success. In today’s culture of high-stakes testing, high-cost college and all-everything excellence, getting anything less than an A on an exam can push a student’s panic button....

‘To Learn, They Have to Feel Safe’

When a student walks in Sarah Gammans' office and closes the door, it's always possible she might have to ask the question. Do you have a plan to kill yourself? And the student might answer, "Not today, Mrs. Gammans. But last...

Why Are Kids Hurting & What Can We Do?

While school counselors do their best to help students struggling with mental-health problems, some need more intensive professional help. Lately, agencies providing that help have stepped up capacity to meet an increasing need. At Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services,...

‘A Girl Like Her’ Shows Harsh Realities of Bullying, Suicide

When offered the opportunity to comment on bullying, the consensus from students who recently attended the screening of "A Girl Like Her" was it's real, it's what's happening and the truth of it is scary. Alyssa Mason, a student...
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