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Massapequa Ninth Graders Learn That Mental Health Matters

Pictured: Ames Campus social worker Kim Hession taught students how to be aware of the mental health of themselves and others during suicide prevention presentations.

Photo courtesy of the Massapequa School District

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.

Massapequa Ninth Graders Learn That Mental Health Matters

After learning about the acknowledge, care, tell protocols, students received care packages to support their mental health.

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.

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