Schools' menal health program a positive approach
In light of tragic suicides this fall, the news that local schools will be taking advantage of a new mental health program is encouraging.
Local schools, including Porterville High School and Granite Hills High School, are considering a new program to assist middle- and high-school students to learn the signs and symptoms of suicide and one which teaches about researching mental health topics to educate and help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illness.
Called the Reduction and Elimination of Stigma Through Art Target Education — RESTATE — the program is designed to promote awareness and understanding of mental health issues.
The suicides of three young people in the matter of just a couple of weeks sent shock waves through the community. Some schools and community leaders have already taken steps to prevent any more suicides, but more needs to be done. The RESTATE program is one more way to assist students and staff to prevent any more suicides.
We hope that not only Porterville and Granite Hills high schools take advantage of the program being offered through the Tulare County Department of Education. We would like to see all high schools and middle schools consider the program as well.
The program gives tools to students themselves to educate classmates on the signs and symptoms of mental illness, including depression. The students will present materials and programs to spread the word. RESTART will provide schools the training and materials they will need to implement and sustain the program. Funding is for three years, but hopefully the schools will continue it for years to come.
Other schools have taken other proactive approaches. Just this week an anti-bullying program was presented at both Pioneer Middle School and Porterville High School.
The goal, and we hope it is achieved, is that no more young people will consider suicide as a last resort.