Many students face the daunting task of overcoming a stigma and their fellow classmates continually remind them of that problem. They are overweight, not handsome or pretty, their clothes are ragged, the behave strangely or have a behavioral habit that haunts them. They are failing school and can’t talk about it to their parents or guardians. They may not know where to turn and feel hopeless.
Then suicidal thoughts come creeping in and they begin to slide even further into the spiral of loss and despair. They lose hope, belief in oneself, and others. Unfortunately, some parents don’t see the path their child is on or don’t take the time because of their own busy schedules.
The Worth County ISU Extension Service is responding to this need with a program about mental health. Worth County Extension Specialist Dennis Johnson is developing a series to educate teachers, school administration, and parents about how mental health is affecting area youth.
The concept came from a statewide program that got its roots in northern Iowa.
Educators, parents, and interested parties had the opportunity to hear from three experts in the state about mental health.
The impact of the statewide program was something that Johnson was very satisfied with.
From this program, Johnson believes that a local program or series can be developed.
Beyond that, Johnson and his team are reaching out to local school districts in order to answer a need that arose after a double tragedy.
The extension will hold a meeting with educators in the Northwood-Kensett Community School District during an in-service date and is working with the Central Springs Community School District to do the same.