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  1. 1. Community Conversation Deer Valley Unified School District January 28, 2019 From Distress to Success: Supporting Student Mental Health and Well-Being
  2. 2. You and your community have our undivided, unconditional love and support Our goals tonight: •Decrease suicide and attempts by increasing knowledge and understanding •Encourage help-seeking •Reduce stigma of mental illness •Engage parents, students, and staff as partners in prevention •Answer any and all of your questions 1
  3. 3. Death by suicide is no one person’s fault and prevention is everyone’s responsibility 2
  4. 4. • However, there is hope. This presentation will share some successful practices driven by courageous, innovative, compassionate, and impassioned leaders, teachers, parents, and students. These practices have made the schools more humane, healthy, and engaging. Strong academics have been sustained and definitions of success have expanded. 3 FROM … TO …
  5. 5. 4 … these kids, and what can WE do about it in OUR schools?
  6. 6. 5
  7. 7. 6 “Experts agree that anxiety is reaching near-epidemic levels among young people, with as many as one in eight children — and 25 percent of teens — contending with diagnosable anxiety disorders.” <>
  8. 8. “Outcomes” of anxiety, depression, mental health struggles. … • Disengagement • Truancy • “School Refusal” • Substance abuse • Cutting • Hospitalization • Credible Threats • and worse … children/measure/teen_suicide/state/AZ Arizona Trend U.S. Trend 2016-18
  9. 9. Nearly half of suicides in AZ occur in Maricopa County • In 2016, there were 1310 deaths. Maricopa County had the highest rate of suicide with 683 deaths. The youngest suicide was age 9; the oldest was age 96. • The majority of suicides were completed with a gun. • Suicide is not just a behavioral health concern… Suicide touches every family and community in Arizona, regardless of diagnoses, zip codes, ethnicities, or faith. 9
  10. 10. PREVENTION: Understanding Myths • MYTH: All adolescents think of suicide. • FACT: Only about 12-15% of the student population (depending on location) seriously think about it. • MYTH: If I ask someone about suicide, I’ll put the thought in their head. • FACT: There is a large body of research disputing this myth (Madeline Gould et al) • MYTH: If someone wants to die by suicide there is nothing I can do about it. • FACT: Suicide is preventable and most who survived a suicide attempt do not try again. • MYTH: Suicide is selfish. • FACT: People who are suicidal often feel they are a burden to others 10
  11. 11. PREVENTION: Understanding Causes • PRIOR DEATH: The number one risk factor for death by suicide is a prior one in your community or a neighboring one. • MENTAL HEALTH/DEPRESSION: Withdrawal, sleep habits, anxiety. • COPING WITH SETBACKS, TRANSITIONS, AND ISOLATION: “What am I good for? What am I good at?” 11
  12. 12. PREVENTION: Understanding Causes • EASY ACCESS TO MEANS: “Hot Spots” (railroad tracks, bridges), firearms, poisons. “Reducing access to means saves lives.” • IMPULSIVITY: suicide may occur within 10 minutes of having ideation and frequently occurs within 2 weeks of a major conflict. • INTIMATE PARTNER: Half of youth suicides are due to intimate partner problems. 12
  13. 13. PREVENTION: WHAT can we do? •Manage social media •Be hyper vigilant of social-emotional health •Demonstrate caring and create connections •Obtain access to wellness supports •Scale back performance arms race 13
  14. 14. PREVENTION: VIGILANCE • WATCH FOR • Frequent sleeping in class can be a sign of sleep deprivation • Observable change in work habits, routines • Obsession with social media • Mood swings and impulsive outbursts • LISTEN to students’ peers • BE ALERT at especially difficult times such as • Media coverage of a celebrity (or age peer) suicide • College admissions (and rejections) • Anniversary dates of trauma 14
  15. 15. CDC Suicide Warning Signs 15 According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning commons signs of suicide are: • Feeling like a burden and expressing hopelessness • Being isolated • Increased anxiety (extended or in cycles) • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain • Increased substance use • Increased anger or rage • Sleeping too little • Talking or posting about wanting to die • Saying goodbye and/or abandoning prized possessions
  16. 16. “While the vast majority of people (90 percent) who attempt suicide by another method survive, gun suicide attempts are almost always fatal. People who attempt suicide overwhelmingly report immediate regret, and most never attempt suicide again. Yet suicide attempts by shooting are almost always fatal, meaning the vast majority who attempt suicide with a gun never get a second chance to get the help they need.” 16 MEANS RESTRICTION AND SAFE STORAGE SAVES LIVES
  17. 17. SCALE BACK PERFORMANCE ARMS RACE • Discourage students from overloading with APs and Honors classes and from packing resumes with too many activities • Understand the realities of college admissions practices • Keep the quantity of homework reasonable and quality of homework high • Provide flexibility for due dates of major projects and tests • Eliminate (or at least reduce) stigma and barriers to help seeking 17
  18. 18. EA Accelerates the Performance Arms Race Alliteratively, Bates, Bowdoin, Brown, and Bucknell have early acceptance rates more than double their regular admissions rates as do “Wash U” and Williams. Holy Cross, Conn, and George Washington University have early admissions rates in the 70% range. Here are some other comparables from College Transitions for 2015-16: Early % Regular % Columbia 19 >5 Northwestern 38 11 Princeton 19.9 5 Stanford 10.2 >5 Amherst 36 12 Notre Dame 38.9 15.1 Oberlin 54 27 UNC/Chapel Hill 39.1 18.9 Wesleyan 42 22.2 18
  19. 19. Institution % Accepted Brigade Numbers Left on the Battlefield Stanford 4.69 43,997 41,934 Harvard 5.2 39,044 37,014 Princeton 6.46 29,313 27,429 Brown 9 32,390 29,475 Columbia 6.04 36,292 33,970 Yale 6.27 31,455 29,483 MIT 7.81 19,020 17,535 Penn 9.4 38,918 35,260 19 Put another way, for the schools cited about, at least 3 out of 4 applicants are rejected. Yes, rejected. Willard Dix provides a body count of what he calls “cannon fodder,” the unsuccessful applicants: “Let's look at a few numbers from the current admission season (College class of 2020) to see how many students fell during "The Charge of the Bright Brigade": acceptance-rates/#13d9f4801dd0
  20. 20. “Our school is comprised largely of perfectionist students who are terrified by the idea of failure. The race for a higher Grade Point Average (GPA) dominates in our community. Our worth and value in the eyes of our friends, family, and, worst of all, ourselves, is dictated by this number. Being ranked by GPA only worsens the crisis through constant comparison to each other. Mistakes, whether during lectures or on tests, become viewed by students, and even many teachers, as signs of weakness and stupidity.” 20 perspective-creating-school-policy-change-improve-engagement-well/ From a student …
  21. 21. The student who took his own life had a full schedule of Advanced Placement classes—as a high school freshman. Why? Because he knew the reality of his high school's antiquated ranking and weighting system. The school only gives special weight (added points onto the GPA thus improving the class rank) if a student takes APs. 21 From a parent …
  22. 22. “Our teachers and District have simply created and maintained a system that our community/country has demanded from us over the past 20 years since college admissions mania went into hyper drive, since vocational training programs were dismantled, and since earning “A’s” in AP classes became the norm. Our teachers feel the pressure, administration and counseling feel the pressure, and now parents/students are really feeling the pressures. When we grew up nobody asked us what our GPA was, and it was “cool” to work on the roof of a house. This competitive culture has significantly impacted our young adults. We endlessly discuss test scores, National Merit Scholarships, reading scores, AP scholars, comparisons to other school Districts and this is when we start losing our collective souls--and our children.” 22 From a principal …
  23. 23. Barriers to help-seeking • Stigma of counseling • Not recognizing needed emotional support or professional help • Not knowing how to find help • Cultural/family traditions that value individual independence or frown upon seeking help outside of the family • The mistaken belief that your problems cannot be resolved, even with assistance • Lack of access to care, due to lack of providers and/or financial issues 23
  24. 24. INTERVENTION: A … C … T ACT • ACKNOWLEDGE that you are seeing signs of depression or suicide and that it is serious. • CARE: let your child/friend know that you care about them and you are concerned that he or she needs help you can’t provide. (Do not leave the individual alone if at all possible); • TELL a teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult that you are worried about your child/friend. 24
  25. 25. AVOID • Conducting memorial assemblies • Sensationalizing or glorifying • Allowing lasting memorials at school • Speculating on causes and analyzing motives • Spreading erroneous statements, rumors, etc. on social media 25 POSTVENTION: Memorials SUPPORT • Involvement in off campus memorial services • Living memorials (projects, memory book) • Opportunities for students AND staff to express full range of emotions and support for managing their grief • Truth and honesty along with family privacy requests • Return to healthy routines
  26. 26. “Risk of additional suicides increases when the story explicitly describes the suicide method, uses dramatic/graphic headlines or photos, and repeated or extensive coverage sensationalizes or glamorizes a death.” 26 POSTVENTION: Media Control
  27. 27. 27 Terminology! A Beautiful Front Page Photo! Means! RX: Call and write the editor and reporter. Cancel subscriptions.
  28. 28. To close on a positive note: Attending to Social Emotional Health makes a big difference Students who are mentally healthy and social-emotionally sound are: 1. More likely to succeed academically 2. Have the self-confidence, resilience, grit, and coping skills to persist in the face of difficult challenges 3. More friendly and skilled in managing positive relationships 4. More engaged in and be connected to school 5. More likely to make wise decisions and thus less likely to have discipline problems 28
  29. 29. Research shows the positive impact of social emotional interventions on learning 29 The ability to recognize and manage emotions and establish and maintain positive relationships impacts both readiness to learn and the ability to benefit from learning opportunities. In 2011, a team of researchers conducted a comprehensive meta analysis of school based universal social emotional interventions which included 213 schools and 270,034 students ranging from kindergarten through high school. On average, the researchers found that students receiving social emotional interventions improved significantly compared to those not receiving an intervention. Social emotional skills, social behaviors, and academic performance increased, attitudes towards self and others were more positive, conduct problems were reduced, and emotional distress lessened. Farrington, Roderick, Allensworth, Nagaoka, Keyes, Johnson, & Beechum. (2012). Teaching adolescents to become learners: The role of noncognitive factors in shaping school performance. A critical literature review. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Durlak et al. (2011). The impact of enhancing students’ social and emotional learning: A metaanalysis of school based universal interventions. Child Development, 872 (1).
  30. 30. FREE Resources 30 • Regarding this presentation, contact Max McGee • • 224.234.6129 • • SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention: • • 847.697.9181 • Suicide Prevention Resource Center: • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: content/uploads/2016/01/recommendations.pdf • PAUSD Toolkit for Mental Health Promotion and Suicide Prevention • Sources of Strength:
  31. 31. References • Anglemyer, A., Horvath, T., & Rutherford, G. (2014). The accessibility of firearms and risk for suicide and homicide victimization among household members: A systematic review and meta- analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 160(2), 101-110. • Gould, Madelyn S. et al. (2005) Evaluating Iatrogenic Risk of Youth SuicideScreening Programs: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 293 (13). • Miller, M., Azrael, D., & Barber, C. (2012). Suicide mortality in the United States: The importance of attending to method in understanding population-level disparities in the burden of suicide. The Annual Review of Public Health, 33(1), 393-408 • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2017. National Centers for Injury Prevention and Control, Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Retrieved from 31
  32. 32. For further conversation, please join me for a “Second Cup of Coffee” @glennmaxmcgee 224.234.6129 February 5 Noon to 1:00 Sandra Day O’Connor H.S. February 7 Noon to 1:00 Barry Goldwater High School

Editor's Notes

  • Welcome DVUSD Staff and we thank you in advance for your time viewing this presentation. The following presentation is a response to the growing need to support our teens with mental wellness. First and foremost, the principals at our schools have been vocal about the need to better meet the well being of students in distress. Second, the DVUSD Governing Board held a study session on 10-30-18 that focused on how the District is supporting the mental health of our students. At this study session, DVUSD Administration presented a timeline of various trainings and events that have occurred over the past two years addressing this topic. The board appreciated the presentation and requested that administration take additional positive steps towards supporting staff and students in this area. Although we know this topic can be emotional, we believe it’s the right thing to do. This short presentation represents our desire to bring more awareness to this social problem.
  • It’s a national problem. (Potentially pose rhetorical question ) -Could the students in the pictures on these two slides be our own students? Absolutely.
  • Here are some facts specific to our state. (Give audience 1-2 minutes to read the slide.) Note that although suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in Arizona, it is the 2nd leading cause for youth aged 15-34. (If audience wants to know, accidental death (e.g. car accidents, etc.) is the leading cause.)
  • We have been hearing from teachers that anxiety amongst their students is on the rise. This quote illustrates the urgency needed for us to be part of the solution. Please take a minute to read the slide. (Allow 2 minutes). Talk with your shoulder partner about how this quote resonates or does not resonate with you.
  • In addition to anxiety, we also know that greater numbers of students are being diagnosed with depression. (Read the small print to the audience.)
  • This slide displays the some of the outcomes that can result from a youth suffering form anxiety, depression and/or other mental health condition. (Direct audience to look at the two trend lines that display number of suicides per 100,000 adolescents aged 15-19 over the past three years. Ask the audience – Take a minute to look at the graph, what do you notice? Talk to your partner.) Participants may want to know more about why Arizona has a steeper trend line than the U.S.
  • Here are some additional facts about our county. Please take a minute to read this slide.