Or­chard Park schools invit­ing par­ents to take part in men­tal health cur­ricu­lum

The Buffalo News - - CITY&REGION - By Bar­bara O’Brien

Schools in New York are now man­dated to teach about men­tal health, and Or­chard Park is tak­ing it a step fur­ther by of­fer­ing par­ents a se­ries on men­tal, so­cial and emo­tional health.

“It re­ally started over the last year to 18 months where we’ve seen con­cern­ing be­hav­ior in our stu­dent body,” said Lisa Krueger, as­sis­tant su­per­in­ten­dent for cur­ricu­lum and pupil ser­vices for the Or­chard Park Cen­tral Schools.

The dis­trict has ex­pe­ri­enced stu­dent sui­cide and dealt with griev­ing stu­dents and fac­ulty dur­ing that time. It also is see­ing more stu­dents seek­ing help to cope with pres­sures.

“Of­ten it’s our top-per­form­ing stu­dents who are now sit­ting in the of­fice of our stu­dent coun­selors. A lot of our kids are stressed, anx­ious, and have the weight of the world on their shoul­ders,” she said.

The fam­ily is a key com­po­nent for stu­dent men­tal health, and the dis­trict wants to give par­ents as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble and strengthen the part­ner­ship with fam­i­lies. Three ses­sions are planned, one on sui­cide, one on anx­i­ety and the third on the ef­fects of screen time on youth.

“More than Sad: Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion for Par­ents” is the first ses­sion. It will

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