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:
- Loss of interest
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.
Who You Can Reach Out to At School:
The counseling check-ins are still available for students to utilize whenever needed:
- Student Counseling Check-In - Middle/High School
- Student Counseling Check-In - Elementary School
Please do not hestitate to call if you are in need of further support:
School Counselor, Grades 9-12
(585) 786-8000 ext. 3702
School Counselor, Grades 6-8
(585) 786-8000 ext. 3703
(585) 786-8000 ext. 3701
School Counselor - Elementary School
(585)786-8000 ext. 3208
School Social Worker - District-Wide
(585) 786-8000 ext. 3207
School Psychologist - Elementary - Long-Term Substitute
(585) 786-8000 ext. 3404
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
Office of Mental Health, Rochester Psychiatric Center Mobile Integration Team, Wyoming County
Clarity (Wyoming County Mental Health)
- 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)