Suffolk Public Schools expanding student mental wellness outreach program

SUFFOLK, Va. – Suffolk Public Schools is expanding its student mental wellness outreach program to middle schoolers, according to school officials.

The outreach program is currently offered at all high schools, but will now include 8th grade students in middle schools.

Since 2006, teen suicide rates in the U.S. have been steadily increasing, with nearly 1 in 5 teens across the nation reporting seriously considering suicide in the past year.

“The division is actively bolstering its student mental wellness curriculum and building a stronger safety net for Suffolk teens by engaging parents and caring adults in a new, division-wide initiative,” SPS said in a news release.

All Suffolk 8th graders will see the video “More than Sad: Teen Depression”  in their geography class to help students recognize the signs of depression in themselves or others. The video also teaches students how to ask for help if they’re feeling depressed or suicidal.

Middle school teachers and support staff will watch a companion version of the video. Adults will learn about the warning signs, what to say and how to guide teens to help.

The school system is also hosting these upcoming parent and community presentations:

  • Wednesday, April 11 at 6 p.m. – John F. Kennedy Middle School
  • Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. – John Yeates Middle School
  • Wednesday, April 25 at 6 p.m. – King’s Fork Middle School
  • Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 p.m. – Forest Glen Middle School

The parent/community presentation is an adult discussion covering the information students will receive in their classroom. It is not intended for young audiences as sensitive content is discussed.