Six questions to ask your child’s school about mental wellness
“We had no idea he was struggling.”
Kari Eckert’s son Robbie died by suicide when he was just 15 years old. As with many parents whose teens are facing mental health issues, she didn’t know the pain he was in.
Today, suicide is the leading cause of death among Colorado youth aged 10-24. In response to this crisis, parents, schools and communities must come together to promote mental wellness and save lives.
This back-to-school season, parents can make a difference by working to form a healthy family-school partnership. This partnership is key to ensuring your child is supported at school and can make it easier to identify issues early, before they become bigger.
Be proactive — don’t wait until a challenge arises.
Meet teachers, coaches and program leaders. Introduce yourself to anyone who will spend time with your child this year. Let them know the best way to reach you and share important details about your child.
Attend school events. And, at those events, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out what the school is doing to enhance your child’s ability to effectively cope with day-to-day stressors.
Here are six questions that can help you get the conversation started:
- What curriculum is in place to teach social and emotional skills?
- What bullying policies are in place?
- How does the school help kids with friendship skills when problems arise?
- What is the school doing to promote positive peer interactions?
- Who do I contact at the school if my or another child needs more than what is currently offered?
- If issues do arise, how can I coach my child to get the support they need at school?
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Today in Colorado, stories like Robbie’s are all too common — and they’re also preventable. As your child settles into the new academic year, begin building the foundation for a strong family-school partnership to promote mental wellness.