JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. – A new campaign to raise awareness about the importance of mental health in schools unites all six public school superintendents in Johnson County.
In the video, superintendents of Center Grove Community Schools, Greenwood Community Schools, Clark-Pleasant Community Schools, Franklin Community Schools, Edinburgh Community Schools and Nineva-Hensley-Jackson Community Schools share the message that mental health issues affect more students than ever before. formerly.
“Our children struggle to manage stress and adjust to the pressures of everyday life,” the video says. “Feelings of anxiety and depression lead to poor academic performance, increasing behavioral problems, substance abuse, school violence and incarceration of young people.”
In addition to shedding light on the issue, the video is intended to encourage parents to realize their child’s mental well -being. It also encourages anyone struggling with a mental health condition to seek for help and connections to resources.
“I think it’s very important to see in our community that we’re all in it and we know it’s a concern that our youth face,” said Connie Poston, director of ethical health at Clark- Pleasant Schools. “It’s more than just the kids in school and the more we reach out to parents and other community members, we expect to have a bigger impact.”
“We know we’re better off together, we know we can’t all solve it on our own,” said Christy Berger, director of school counseling at Center Grove Community Schools.
The campaign coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, and comes on the heels of the Indiana Youth Foundation’s latest “State of the Child” report. In that report, Indiana’s youth ranked 26th in the nation when it comes to mental health and well-being.
“The mental health of Indiana’s youth is declining,” said Clint Kugler, vice president of statewide engagement and advocacy at the Indiana Youth Institute. “High levels of stress and anxiety, fear, loneliness. All of this was reported during this pandemic.”
“We’ve really seen an increase in anxiety in our students, from kindergarten through high school,” Berger said. “We continue to see an increase in suicide thoughts and suicide plans for our teens, especially our high school students, but again, in true K-12, we’re seeing some of the concerns. “
Poston added that teachers and other school staff have also faced additional mental health challenges over the past two years.
“We’re trying to do some things and put some things in place to support our staff, because we know that unregulated staff and adults can’t make students,” he said. Poston.
While the video is intended to inform the public of mental health services within Johnson County Schools, it also includes connections to resources outside the school system. This includes calling 211 or clicking on www.bewellindiana.com to find resources.
“We want to be together, and we want to continue to be with our families,” Berger said. “And I hope they continue to see that message being poured through that video.”