Sept. 7, 2012, Fort Dodge, IA- In an effort to identify early signs of mental health risk factors, the Fort Dodge Community School District is offering its freshman students TeenScreen, a confidential mental health screening program. The National Center for Mental Health Checkups at Columbia University developed TeenScreen to identify risk factors associated with depression, suicide and other mental disorders.
Fourteen to 20 percent of youth experience mental or emotional disorders at any given time, yet less than one third of these teens receive help. Often the warning signs of mental illness are not visible making it important to screen for early risk factors. While most parents believe they would know if their child was at risk for depression or mental illness, studies show 80 percent of youth with mental disorders do not receive the help they need and that 90 percent of the time parents are unaware of their child’s suicide attempts. In addition to suicide, youth suffering from mental illness are at increased risk for poor academic performance, absenteeism, strained relationships with parents and friends and substance abuse.
“At Fort Dodge Senior High, we understand that mental illness can be a barrier to student learning and academic success,” said Lori Degelau, Case Manager - Bridges. “Research shows that less than one half of students with mental health issues graduate. Our hope is that through this early screening process we can find students who are suffering silently and help them reach their full potential.”
TeenScreen is completely voluntary and confidential. Parents must give permission for their teen to participate in the program. The assessment can make parents aware of the difficulties their child may be facing, and connect them with mental health services for their teen if needed.
TeenScreen will be conducted at Fort Dodge Senior High on Tuesday, September 25, with September 14 as the deadline for permission slips to be returned. If you would like additional information or have questions please contact Degelau at Fort Dodge Senior High at 574.5459.
The mission of the Fort Dodge Community School District is to encourage and assist each individual to achieve his/her level of educational excellence. For more information about the Fort Dodge Community Schools visit www.fdschools.org or call 515.576.1161. Our Schools. Our Community. Our Pride.