Nationwide mental health summit for teens brings superintendents to Pleasant Grove
Oct 8, 2022, 11:15 AM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm
PLEASANT GROVE, Utah — Superintendents from all parts of the U.S. gather every year to discuss a variety of topics, and this year the gathering in Pleasant Grove focused on improving the overall mental well-being of students.
“In school districts, there is such a great need for mental health support but often that need outways the help that is available,” Anne Brown, Cook Center CEO said.
Brown helped plan this year’s summit which included a diverse group of 65 superintendents from 30 states. They came from all types of school districts, rural, urban, suburban, low-income, and wealthy areas.
“Having everyone trained, having everyone know the signs. That’s the only way we are going to make inroads for our students,” Kaya Jackson said. She’s the project director at the American Association of School Administrators. “Having everyone trained, having everyone know the signs – that’s the only way we are going to make inroads for our students.”
According to the world health organization, most mental health struggles begin approximately at 14 years of age.
Anxiety, depression, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder are the most commonly diagnosed mental health disorders in school-aged children.
John MacPhee of the Jed Foundation said, “Schools are where the most young people are so it is the best setting for us to best support and best notice if a student is struggling.”
These superintendents are learning to spot the signs of struggling students and to help guide them through what’s affecting them.
“All students need a basic level of mental support in the school – not mental illness, its mental wellbeing,” MacPhee said.
As a parent, Esther Stowell said, it comforts her knowing that the superintendents nationwide are getting this training.
“It makes me feel a sense of pride knowing the people that are with our children the most, guiding our children, are doing their homework,” she said.
Retired California Highway Patrol Sgt. Kevin Briggs was the keynote speaker. He shared his experiences as the so-called “Guardian of the Golden Gate Bridge.” In his 23-year career patrolling the Golden Gate Bridge, he encountered people and would encourage them to choose life when they were close to ending it.
The conversation for mental well-being in Utah will continue Monday at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute summit at Snowbird Resort for World Mental Health Day.
Some 200 organizations will participate to work on a shared message to help all communities.
Suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.
- SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-33888)
- SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
- SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
- Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
- LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith-based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.