April 24, 2013 - What Am I Looking For?

April 24, 2013 - Mental Health: What Am I Looking For?

The April 24 meeting was the second of four meetings of the Summit on Mental Health as a key to school security.  Over 100 students, parents, concerned community members, teachers, staff, and community leaders attended the session. 

The presenter for this meeting of the Summit on Mental Health was Peggy Kubert, Executive Director of Erika's Lighthouse.  Erika's Lighthouse is a grassroots, educational organization dedicated to raising awareness of adolescent depression and mental health for young people.  They strive to break stigma and educate about mental health issues through various programs directored toward schools, teachers, parents, physicians and other healthcare professionals, and teens themselves.  

Please see the links below to review the materials and summary of the April 24 session.


Click here to view the Agenda

Presentation Slides

Executive Summary

At the April 24th Summit 303 community meeting, participants in 10 small groups worked to prepare responses to the following questions and activities:

Task #1
In tonight’s presentation, we learned about early signs that potentially indicate someone is struggling with a mental health issue.  What did you learn tonight that your group feels would be important to share with the larger community? How would that best be accomplished?  What might your role be in sharing the information?

Task #2
What additional information does the community need regarding healthy behaviors and early warning signs? How should this be made available to the community?

Task #3
Share and compare knowledge group members already have regarding mental health resources in the community. How should the community be made aware of all available resources?

Based on the responses, participants of Summit 303 said the information about risk factors and warning signs about mental illness would be important to share with the community.  This information was contained in a checklist offered to the participants during the presentation and was also included in the documents for the meeting given to each participant.  The checklist of risk factors and warning signs was mentioned by seven of the work groups.

In addition, five groups felt it would be important to share information on helping parents becoming more “hands on” with their kids by knowing their kids better, and listening to their kids more intently.  One group pointed out the “kids want to be noticed”, while another specifically suggested that information about how parents can intervene and demonstrate they care and can help would be helpful for the community.  Five more groups discussed the importance of providing information to the community about the frequency of teen depression.  The specific statistic given during the presentation was 80% of teens with depression go untreated.

The follow-up question in Task #1 asked how it would be best to share the information.  There were a wide range of responses, but five groups cited that using already existing school events such as Back-to-School Nights, Curriculum Nights and Parent University sessions are proper channels.  An additional four responses had to do with using already existing tools for this purpose such as school websites, annual registration materials and school newsletters.  In total there were 14 suggestions to use existing events or tools.

The last portion of Task #1 asked about the participant’s role in sharing information about signs someone might be struggling with a mental health issue.  Four groups talked about the desire to share the risk factors and warning signs checklist.

Task #2 asked what additional information the community might need regarding healthy behavior and warning signs.  Five groups mentioned resiliency and coping strategies and five groups talked about specific items related to the risk factors and warning signs checklist.  Regarding resiliency and coping strategies, one group suggested adding role playing for students on how to approach an adult to explain a problem would be helpful and effective.

The follow-up question in Task #2 asked how this additional information should be made available to the community.  Six groups mentioned using already existing events for parents during the course of the school year.  One group suggested providing the checklist as part of the information given to parents at the time they enroll their students.  Another group stated, “Curriculum night, etc. where parents are required to go,” and suggested such an event with a “captive audience” would be a time to show the video, “What I Wish My Parents Knew” which was shown to the participants as part of the presentation.

Three other groups suggested use of the District 303 website as a place to house a series of videos on the topic of adolescent mental health.

Task #3 asked participants about their knowledge of existing resources in the community and how to access those resources.   The existing resources cited most often were TriCity Family Services which was mentioned seven times, school student support teams and churches which were mentioned six times each and hospitals which were mentioned five times.

As for how to access those sources, the most discussed response was a referral from a trusted source.  That was discussed by eight of the ten groups.  The trusted sources included school counselors, doctors and the police.

The final question asked in Task #3 was how the community could be made more aware of the services that already exist.  Websites of community partners such as District 303, the St. Charles Public Library and the City of St. Charles were mentioned by six of the groups. Parent information nights at the schools received mention by three groups as was the creation of a Parent Resource Guide.  One group had a specific suggestion about a Parent Resource Guide saying it should include a “How-to list on getting help/support for a child,” and information on “What to look for”, and “Who to call”.

One other item from the small group discussions is worth noting and it pertains to the checklist of risk factors and warning signs that was presented to the participants and included in the documents for the meeting.  Among the ten groups and across the three task questions, the checklist had 19 mentions.  Of all the information presented to the participants, it appears from the responses that the checklist was the most discussed item overall by the participants at the April 24 meeting.

For a complete listing of responses see the April 24, 2013 Verbatim Response Document.

Verbatim Responses