• Mental health has become a growing concern for our children over the last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. This affects our students at school as well as at home. We would like to provide the Warsaw school community with some more information about mental health, the warning signs for parents to look for, and some suggestions on how to support your children.

    These are some warning signs to look for in your child that increase the risk for suicide

    If a person talks about:
    - Killing themselves
    - Feeling hopeless
    - Having no reason to live
    - Being a burden to others
    - Feeling trapped
    - Unbearable pain

    Behaviors that may signal risk:
    - Increased use of alcohol or drugs
    - Looking for a way to send their life, researching online for materials or means
    - Withdrawing from activities
    - Isolating from family and friends
    - Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities

    People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
    - Depression
    - Anxiety
    - Loss of interest
    - Irritability
    - Humiliation 
    - Agitation
    - Rage

    What you can do to support your child at home:

    It is important to be aware of warning signs that your child may be struggling. You can play a critical role in knowing when your child may need help. 

    First Steps for Parents:
    - If you are concerned about your child's mental health, you can start by talking with others who frequently intereact with your child. For example, ask their teacher about your child's behavior in school, at daycare, or on the playground.
    - You can talk with your child's pediatrician or healthcare provider and describe the child's behavior, as well as what you have observed and learned from talking with others. You can also ask the healthcare provider for a referral to a mental health professional who has experience and expertise in treating children. 

    When talking about mental health problems with your child, please consider:
    - Communicating in a straightforward manner
    - Speaking at a level that is appropriate to a child or adolescent's age and development level (preschool children need fewer details than teenagers)
    - Discussing the topic when your child feels safe and comfortable
    - Watching for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if your child becomes confused or looks upset
    - Listening openly and let your child tell you about his or her feelings and worries

    There are many resources for parents and caregivers who want to know more about children's mental health. Learn more about: 
    - Recognizing mental health problems in children, how they are affected, and what you can do. 
    - Diagnosing and treating children with mental health problems.
    - Talking to children and youth after a disaster or traumatic event.

    Please do not hesitate to call if you are in need of further support (Please dial 911 for emergencies):

    Emily Statler
    School Counselor, Grades 9-12
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3702

    Mike Bauer
    School Counselor, Grades 6-8
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3703

    Sheri Antolos
    Counseling Secretary
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3701

    Leanne Molenda
    School Counselor - Elementary School
    (585)786-8000 ext. 1208

    Nicole Yeo
    School Social Worker - District-Wide
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3208

    Erin Thomas
    School Psychologist - Elementary 
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3404

    Keli Walker
    School Psychologist - Middle/High School
    (585) 786-8000 ext. 3705

    Resources of Additional Help   *Please Dial 911 for Emergencies*

    Wyoming County Crisis Line
    - (585) 283-5200

    Wyoming County Mobile Integration (MIT) Team
    - (585) 241-1276

    WCCH 24-hour Emergency Assessment
    - (585) 786-2233 ext. 4692

    Wyoming County Domestic Violence Local Daytime Number
    - (585) 786-8904

    Wyoming County Partners for Prevention
    - (585) 786-8970

    ARA Wyomng County Mental Health Crisis Line
    - 1-800-724-8583

    Office of Mental Health, Rochester Psychiatric Center Mobile Integration Team, Wyoming County
    - (585)786-0220

    Clarity (Wyoming County Mental Health)
    -(585) 786-0190

    - Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    1-800-TALK (8255) - Veterans Press 1

    - Crisis Text Line
    Text HELLO to 741741

    - National Drug Addiction Helpline

    - Rape Crisis Service (RESTORE) 24-Hour Hotline

    - Domestic Violence Hotline Number

    Talking to Children About COVID-19 (Coronavirus): A Parent Resource (https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource)

    Responding to Children's Emotional Needs During Times of Crisis (https://www.healthychildren.org/English/healthy-living/emotional-wellness/Pages/Responding-to-Childrens-Emotional-Needs-During-Times-of-Crisis.aspx) - Important tips for parents and other caregivers.

    School Mental Health and Training Resource- https://www.mentalhealthednys.org/  has resources for families https://www.mentalhealthednys.org/parents/ and students https://www.mentalhealthednys.org/students/

    Caring for Kids (https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/mental_health) - Mental health affects the way people think, feel and act. Taking care of our mental health is just as important as having a healthy body. As a parent, you play an important role in your child's mental health.

    NYS School Social Workers Association (https://nyssswa.org/crisis-response/resources-for-parents/) - Parent tips for dealing with crisis situations

    Tips for anxiety associated with dealing with COVID-19  https://www.virusanxiety.com/take-care offers resources and meditations

    Programs for All Students

    Positive Psychology (https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-activities-worksheets/) - this link includes 27 different activities related to building resilience for children and adults. It focuses on activities to help individuals bounce back from struggles and setbacks.

    Programs for Younger Students

    Stop, Breathe, and Think Kids app (https://www.stopbreathethink.com/kids/) - For children 5 – 10, guided mindfulness exercises that keep kids engaged and addresses emotional regulation and attention.

    Sesame Street Resilience: (https://www.sesamestreet.org/toolkits/challenges) – Sesame Street characters help to build resilience for younger children through multiple activities, songs, and videos. This provides specific lessons and videos that can be used to foster resilience skills and emotional intelligence for younger children.

    Go Noodle - Rainbow Breathing Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O29e4rRMrV4) - Learn how to raise your energy and face your day with this exercise. Have fun with it!

    Books that are helpful for younger children are:

    “Wilma Jean the Worry Machine” Julia Cook (also available on YouTube for viewing, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpAijfP99Ng)  Additional Books to help with anxiety:https://www.weareteachers.com/books-for-kids-with-anxiety/

    Families can play board games, or card games, and have children lose and assist in learning how to cope. In addition, winning gracefully is another important lesson. Social skills that can be practiced while playing a board game: turn taking, good sportsmanship, following directions and waiting. (https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/105_parentscanhelpsocial.pdf)

    Keeping a journal WITH your students is a great way to help them express themselves - Drawing pictures, cutting and pasting pictures, have them write and/or have them dictate to you. 

    Programs for Older Students

    Positive Psychology (https://positivepsychology.com/resilience-activities-exercises/) –  PositivePsychology.com provides 23 resilience training activities that can be used with teens and adults to foster resilience skills. This also provides powerpoints and resources to teach teens and adults the skills they need to be resilient and bounce back from setbacks. Additionally, it offers a “mental toughness" test and training used by the Army to build mental toughness.

    Managing Stress in Teens and Adolescents: A Guide for Parents (https://www.bradleyhospital.org/managing-stress-teens-and-adolescents-guide-parents)