Depression Awareness Program during W4

Kimberly Laura, Co-Editor in Chief

During an extended W4, AHS will hold a Wellness screening today and Thursday for current 10th graders as part of the SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program.

Throughout the years, this annual program has shown to be effective among students as an increasing number seek help for either themselves or for a friend.

At AHS, there are four clinicians available to support students. Social worker Christina Ferrari and psychologist Andrea Chambers are located in the cafeteria office. In addition, social worker Alissa Green and psychologist Laurie Ottehenning are located in the Learning Center.

The wellness screening is provided throughout the county and at AHS it is given to 10th graders.

“It feels like a good year because you have adjusted to high school,” Ottehenning said. “It is also good because we start to notice those kinds of signs at this age. You can be on the lookout for it and have the knowledge of what to do for a friend”

The video in the presentation discusses the signs of depression and warning signs of suicide. The video informs students appropriate actions to take if one notice these signs in a friend or themselves.

“Depression is very preventable among teenagers and it’s something a lot of people deal with. It’s important for them to get the help they need because suicide is very preventable,” Ottehenning said.

There are other mental health support systems in addition to school counselors. The overall message is to inform students about who to go to if they or a friend needs help.

After the video, there is a screening with a couple of questions. The answers are evaluated to see and meet with students who need any additional support.

“It’s really just a conversation about what’s going on and to see if they need any extra support,” Ottehenning said. “There’s a reason we have four mental health clinicians at school. It’s really to provide support and that students are aware we’re here. It’s our job to talk to kids. We’re happy to help.”

Students can reach out for help at any time throughout the year. If a student comes to a clinician, they will be supportive if available or reach out to the student as soon as possible. Resources at AHS have many connections in and outside of the school to make sure to a student is not alone in the process.