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What Colorado schools are doing for students’ mental health

Some Colorado school districts have started taking steps to try and help their students through mental illness.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has announced new guidelines to help spot signs of depression in pediatricians’ young patients.

They are recommending that doctors carefully screen their patients ages 12 and over during their annual checkups.

This decision, while years in the making, comes at a time schools are struggling with how to deal with mental illness in their student bodies.

Some Colorado school districts have started taking steps to try and help their students through mental illness.

The Cherry Creek School District and Douglas County School District are a part of the Douglas Arapahoe Suicide Prevention Alliance.

The alliance provides various workshops and classes regarding suicide prevention, as well as understanding and recognizing mental illness.

In August of 2017, Kaiser Permanente awarded five Colorado school districts with a total of 1.5 million dollars in grant funds. The goal was to help improve behavioral health in their schools.

The districts involved include: Boulder Valley School District, Cherry Creek School District, Summit School District, Thompson School District, and Fountain-Fort Carson School District.

The Summit School District has used the funds to help educate teachers and staff to identify students who may be struggling. Other districts have used the funds to hire more mental health care professionals.

The Cherry Creek School District has partnered with Aurora Mental Health to been able to provide mental health support starting in preschool. The district’s elementary schools have psychologists and social worker teams, and middle and high school students have access to mental health teams, counselors, and deans. In total, the district has 47 social workers and 76 school psychologists.

There is also a 24-hour confidential crisis line provided by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Those struggling can call 1.844.493.8255 or text “TALK” to 38255.