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Mental Health Support

At Jeffco Public Schools, we want to ensure a safe learning and working environment for all those that engage in our community. In ensuring this safe space, we have to take into account not only physically safe spaces, but also mentally safe spaces. 

Jeffco is actively seeking to inform, inspire, and engage our community about the many facets of mental health issues in our students, staff, and families.

We acknowledge that academics are important but we also acknowledge that the student or staff member who feels seen, heard, and like they matter will be primed for learning and thriving. 

ROLES

Mental Health roles interplay diagramThanks to 5A, Jeffco has had the welcomed challenge of integrating a variety of mental health roles and efforts across the district to better meet the needs of our students, schools, and communities. Mental health professionals in these varied roles, and across grade levels and schools, have begun meeting in articulation areas with one driving purpose; to provide a continuum of collaborative services and support to increase student’s mental health, wellness, and academic success. While there will always be some overlap of efforts among their roles, the responsibilities of these mental health professionals all look a little different.



Nurses

While School Nurses do not provide direct, clinical support in the terms of mental health therapy, they do provide social emotional wellness support. Nurses, especially the 8 site-based high school nurses, are engaged in coaching students and providing students with tools to assist in making healthy decisions. All high school nurses provide support for students who struggle with substance abuse by assessing risk and connecting the student and family with community resources. All Jeffco nurses have a mental health educational background and are a great resource for connecting students and families with district and/or community resources.
Watch this video
"Inside the World of SELS"

SELS

Social Emotional Learning Specialists generally focus on overall school culture and climate and facilitate the explicit teaching of social emotional competencies to all students within a school. They also provide direct supports to individuals and groups of students that demonstrate a need for a little more help in the areas of behavior and social emotional skills.

SELCs

Social Emotional Learning Counselors generally support the academic, social emotional, and career development for gifted students in a GT center school  through classroom guidance lessons, small groups and individual student meetings. SELCs collaborate with all stakeholders including teachers, school mental health providers, administrators, parents to provide quality support for gifted learners. They provide classroom instruction, small group interventions, and brief individual counseling support. SELCs are also available for consultation with any school needing advisement in serving GT populations.

School Counselors

Counselors lead, advocate, collaborate and create systemic change throughout their school by leveraging a data-driven comprehensive school counseling program. They support the academic, career and social/emotional development for all students through classroom guidance lessons, small groups, and individual student meetings.

Psychologists and Social Workers

Psychologists and Social Workers generally work with students with more specifically defined academic and/or social/emotional/behavioral needs as identified in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) as determined by the school’s Special Education team. These needs are typically addressed in smaller group settings and/or with individual students.

We believe that we are stronger together. The more that people, families, schools, organizations, and communities work together to support positive mental health, coping skills, resiliency, and openness around discussing mental health, the better the result for everyone!

STAFF AND COMMUNITY TRAINING

SUICIDE PREVENTION

At Jeffco Public Schools, we believe it is ethically imperative to do ALL we can to prevent suicide in our Jeffco community. Improving the emotional and behavioral health of our students is a top priority. We do this by utilizing the latest research in the field of suicide prevention, specifically following the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Model School District Policy.

From prevention to intervention to postvention, we are dedicated to offering a comprehensive, evidence-based, suicide prevention program to our Jeffco students and community. 

QPR
QPR Suicide Prevention programAn evidence based Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper model that teaches individuals how to: 
1. Recognize the warning sign of suicide
2. Ask someone directly about suicide
3. Connect someone in crisis to proper mental health support

As of February, 2020 - Jeffco Public Schools has:
  • held approximately 60 trainings at 60 different locations
  • trained over 5,000 staff members
  • trained close to 600 families/members of the Jeffco community

Jeffco offers QPR training throughout various articulation areas. When a training event in your area is scheduled, you will be notified by your school. Please make sure your contact information is current and updated in Jeffco Connect.

COMING SOON TO AN AREA NEAR YOU

Look for trainings coming soon to the Moore Middle School/Pomona High School area, Standley Lake High School area, and the Jefferson/Edgewater area.

If you cannot attend a Jeffco Public Schools sponsored training – there are several in the community that are offered on a regular basis, either free or low-cost/offering.  

MAKING AN IMPACT

The effects and positive impact of having these conversations and trainings are undeniable.

Opening up the conversations about mental health, especially suicide, is saving lives and raising awareness in Jefferson County. Take a look below at some of the amazing things that have come about from our students, staff, and community members. 

Little did I know that I would be using QPR within a few days of taking this class 

A testimonial from a community member who recently took the QPR training.

Being a parent and resident within Jefferson County Public Schools, I took advantage of an opportunity to take a QPR class offered by the school district. It is a great tool I thought I'd never use and I am forever thankful for the opportunity to put it in my tool bag. Little did I know that as I was sitting there listening to the QPR training that night, that I would be using QPR within a few days of taking this class. I was already involved as a gatekeeper and didn't even know it yet. It was someone close to me. So close that I thought I knew them well enough to know whether something like this was going on, but yet I didn't. It became real as things quickly escalated from a simple conversation over dinner to actively using the QPR methods I had just learned a few days ago. Looking back, all the signs were there and they were staring right at me; not glaring, but subtle. In short, it saved a family, countless friendships, and most importantly, a life. It gave someone hope when they thought there was none. It gave them a hand up when they had fallen down. Someone to walk beside them. QPR is a priceless tool in a world full of expensive things. Take the time to learn QPR. The QPR methods you learn are only the first step on a longer journey, but it's a journey made easier with the right tools. ~ Will 

Golden HS Students Respond to Anonymous Cry for Help with Sticky Notes of Hope

Golden HS Sticky Notes of Kindnes An anonymous cry for help scribbled on a bathroom wall inspired a flurry of encouraging messages in a Denver high school. Now the responses have spread from that wall to the internet as students seek out ways to support each other. Watch the story.





Drake Middle Schoolers win Denver Post Essay Writing Contest With Poem and Song About a Friend Lost To Suicide

Drake Middle Schoolers write song about friend lost to suicideThis poem was selected as the winner of The Denver Post’s teen essay contest as part of an ongoing Crisis Point project on youth suicide in Colorado. The middle-school students wrote about the loss of mutual friend who died by suicide last year.
Read the poem.






Teens are more open about talking about mental health and suicide. But they say adults are slow to catch up.

"Unlike previous generations, teenagers and young adults are more attuned to their mental health, and they are more likely to see a psychologist or other professional for help. More than one-third of Generation Z and Millennials have received such help, according to a 2018 study by the American Psychological Association."

“There is definitely a generational shift,” said Dr. Jason Williams, a psychologist with the Pediatric Mental Health Institute at Children’s Hospital Colorado."
Read The Denver Post article

RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS

Along with the QPR Suicide Prevention training protocol, other measures are in place at schools that are inspiring, informing and engaging students in conversations around mental health. 
Sources of Strength peer-led suicide prevention program

SOURCES OF STRENGTH

A peer led, upstream suicide prevention program

Sources of Strength  is an evidence-based suicide prevention program led primarily by students. It exists to spread hope, help, and strength as well as increase protective factors in the lives of the peer leaders and their classmates. Some of the protective factors include help seeking behaviors, meaningful relationships with trusted adults/mentors, healthy activities, positive family support and friends, generosity, and a willingness to break codes of silence and secrecy when it comes to mental health concerns of their friends/peers.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion logoSAFE, WELCOMING, AND INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS

Jeffco’s Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Team promotes a culture of equity, inclusion, and belonging across the district by creating equitable access and opportunity across race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and language. At the school level, this could include supporting the creation of GSAs (Gender and Sexuality Alliance/Gay Straight Alliance) and staff equity committees. Additionally, this team offers all Jeffco staff ongoing trainings on topics such as equity, LGBTQ+101, Gender Inclusion, Implicit Bias, Culturally Responsive Teaching, and Responding to Slurs at School.

RESTORATIVE PRACTICES

Jeffco’s offices of Student Engagement and Student Discipline support schools in implementation of Restorative Practices. Based on the core belief that "we are all connected," the broad spectrum of restorative practices support all stakeholders in a school in building healthy relationships, repairing harm when it has impacted a community, and reintegrating those who need to be welcomed back into school communities.

FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES

Jefferson County Mental Health is hosting a community forum about mental health in schools. 

LET’S TALK ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH IN SCHOOLS
A community discussion with Jefferson Center and Jeffco Public Schools 
Good mental health is critical to a child’s success in school and life, but with all of today’s challenges, how can we introduce the right resources and better help our kids?

Join Jefferson Center and Jeffco Public Schools to share your perspectives and talk about children’s mental health and substance use, including what’s working, what resources are needed in the community, and how we can all work together to create a brighter future where mental health matters and is accessible to all.

DATE: Saturday, February 22
TIME: 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
LOCATION: St Anthony Hospital, 11600 W 2nd Place, Lakewood, CO 80228

Register Now

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE NEEDS HELP

You can find many local and national resources on our Suicide Prevention page

jeffcopublicshools.org/hope
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