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Ninth Graders Learn That Mental Health Matters

AHS Mental Health Awareness  AHS Mental Health Awareness

Mental health awareness was at the forefront at the Massapequa High School Ames Campus in February. The Ames Social and Emotional Learning committee, in partnership with the Chiefs Challenge and Active Minds clubs, focused on suicide awareness and prevention.

Social worker Kim Hession and psychologist Dr. Vincent Pennisi hosted presentations in the library from Feb. 5-8, and each English class signed up a time slot. Through the evidenced-based Signs of Suicide youth prevention program, Ms. Hession and Dr. Pennisi introduced students to ACT – acknowledge, care, tell. These are simple steps that students can take if they become concerned about a classmate or peer. 

At the end of each session, students were provided with care packages that included inspirational quote cards, the 988 Hotline number, mental health awareness stickers, a purple ribbon to wear on P.S. I Love You Day on Feb. 9, and a purple heart 3D-printed charm. P.S. I Love You Day fostered kindness throughout the school.

Faculty and staff attended a Suicide Safety for Teachers training session, which emphasized warning signs and gave an overview of the school’s referral process. An evening workshop for parents provided them with knowledge and tools to recognize and address warning signs, such as indicators of distress in their teens.