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Important Letter from Dr. Troxell

Important Letter from Dr. Troxell
Posted on 03/31/2017

Leander ISD Parents,

The loss of student lives has taken a tremendous toll on our community this year. As a parent, I am deeply saddened by what our families are going through at this time. The death of a child is devastating no matter the circumstance, and my heart goes out to all students, families and staff who have been impacted by these losses. I ask that you continue to keep our school community in your thoughts and prayers. Working together, we can support our children through this difficult time. Included in this letter are many resources available in our schools and community to assist our students.

Children and teens can experience intense emotions as the result of a stressful or traumatic event in their lives. It is common to feel anxious before a test or a school performance, or to feel sad after a death in the family, the end of a relationship, or when experiencing negative peer-to-peer interactions. If these normal feelings lead to deeper mental health concerns, it may impact how a child feels, acts and handles daily activities. If these feelings persist, parents may want to seek assistance for their child. Please see the link to warning signs in the resources section of this letter. The key to student wellness is for all involved to recognize and proactively address any concerns.

Mental health concerns impact communities nationwide, and unfortunately, our students are not immune. The safety and well-being of students are always our highest priorities, and we continue to support those dealing with mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety and suicide ideation. We know that early identification and intervention of mental health concerns cannot be achieved without support and engagement from the community. We can help our students by working collaboratively to address mental health concerns, as we know these issues extend beyond the boundaries of our schools and affect those we care about so deeply.


Current Measures to Address Needs 

At all Leander ISD schools, we strive to help students advocate for themselves and their peers, and we work to develop a culture in which students and adults feel comfortable seeking support. In an effort to identify students in need at the earliest possible stage, we are working across multiple fronts.

    • The Leander ISD Board of Trustees has made mental health a legislative priority and continues to work with our elected officials to increase support for mental health.
    • Staff members are trained on campus processes and procedures to access help for students in need.
    • Staff receives annual training on awareness of signs of mental health concerns in students and suicide prevention training.
    • Students, parents and community members have access to the Anonymous Alerts system to report concerns regarding a student’s well-being or safety. All reports are investigated by a campus counselor or administrator.
    • A community-wide event, “Raising a Healthy Teen,” was held in the fall of 2016, where Leander ISD school counselors, licensed clinical social workers, and substance abuse counselors, along with community agencies provided information on mental health in adolescents.
    • All Leander ISD schools are designated as No Place for Hate? campuses. No Place for Hate? works to combat bias, bullying, and hatred, leading to long-term solutions for creating and maintaining a positive climate.


Leander ISD is fortunate to have staff members trained to meet the diverse mental health needs of our students.

  • School Counselors - Can help with short-term counseling and provide assistance with the LISD Family Service Team and Chemical Abuse Prevention Counselor referrals.
  • Family Services Team (FST) Licensed Clinical Social Workers - Provide short-term (8- to- 10 sessions) individual counseling for students and families struggling with issues that significantly impact learning, in addition to case management and referral services.
  • Chemical Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP) Counselors - Promote and support wellness, healthy choices, and a drug-free lifestyle through prevention education and counseling.
  • Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSP) - Specially trained and licensed individuals who provide psychological services and school-wide support in an educational setting.

Continuous Improvement Efforts 
As our district grows, so do the needs of our students. In our efforts to improve, Leander ISD will:

  • continue to educate students about the importance of advocating for themselves and peers by reporting mental health concerns to a school counselor, teacher, parent or trusted adult in a timely manner.
  • launch mental health and positive peer-to-peer relationship curriculum in grades K-5 beginning in the 2017-18 school year.
  • explore additional programs to help students know when and how to identify and report suicidal ideation in peers.
  • invite Johns Hopkins Adolescent Depression Awareness Program (ADAP) to provide training for our staff about early identification of depression and other mood disorders. ADAP will provide counselors with a curriculum to educate our secondary students.
  • continue to engage our community in conversations on mental health through a student wellness series and community educational events. More information regarding locations and times will be forthcoming.

The safety and security of our students is our foremost priority, and we are committed to make every effort to ensure your child's safety while in our care. We know that the mental health of our students cannot be addressed in isolation and should occur through a partnership with parents and community members. If you have concerns about a student, contact your school counselor or any of the community resources referenced below. Leander ISD values your input and should you have suggestions, please contact your school counseling team. Thank you in advance for your continued support of our Leander ISD students.


Sincerely,

Dan Troxell
Superintendent 




Resources

Warning signs of Mental Illness in Teens (NIMH)

Signs and Risk Factors for Suicide (NIMH)


Anonymous Alerts
 allows students, parents, and community members to send anonymous messages to a school counselor or administrator to alert them to concerns about a student.

Family Doctor - Most family doctors are a great resource for referrals to mental health providers. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Austin 
http://www.namiaustin.org
NAMI works to raise awareness and provide free education and support programs for people affected by mental illness and their loved ones. Click here for crisis resources. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Call 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number for individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, and for those with speech disabilities who use a TTY 1-800-799-4TTY (4889).

The Suicide Safer Home App
Offers practical tips for concerned parents and adult family caregivers for keeping families suicide safer. Available for iPhone and Android.

 

Travis County
Austin Integral Care http://www.integralcare.org
  • 24-Hour Crisis Line and Mobile Outreach Team: 512-472-HELP (4357)
  • Intake Line: 512-472-HELP (4357)

 

Williamson County
  • 24-Hour Crisis Line and Mobile Outreach Team: 1-800-841-1255
  • Intake Line: 1-844-309-6385