Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has taken an active role at two Palo Alto, Calif., high schools on initiatives aimed at encouraging students to seek help, improve their understanding of mental illness and strengthen social bonds through peer networks.
The initiatives are described in a story published today in Inside Stanford Medicine:
At Palo Alto High School, the More Than Sad initiative is a 90-minute program that includes a video developed by experts in suicide prevention, which teaches teens how to identify and respond appropriately to depression. The program can be delivered in the classroom in one or two sessions and is portable, making it appealing to teachers.
Meanwhile, Gunn has instituted a wellness program called Sources of Strength, built around a student-led peer support group called ROCK (Reach Out. Care. Know.). Its central effort is to have peer leaders from disparate social groups deliver positive messages while empowering students to help friends who appear to be in distress.
Further down in the story, Shashank Joshi, MD, director of the child and adolescent psychiatry residency program at Packard Children’s and a Project Safety Net executive committee member, comments on how the efforts underway represent a broader shift across Palo Alto. He says:
The city, the schools, the organizations - everyone’s doing an excellent job of coming together. They’re asking, ‘How do we get better at reaching the greatest number of kids?’ We believe we’re creating a model of how a community can collaborate on school mental health and truly have an impact on such an important issue.
Previously: Volunteers watch train crossings to prevent suicides
Photo by Barret Anspach