Freshmen take mental health survey

Danny Doucet, Staff Writer

Counselors administered mental health surveys to all freshman as part of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program the school is implementing this year, according to Josh Bloodgood, catalyst director.
The program consists of three parts: a survey, an instructional video, and a letter to parents. The survey used is not the one provided by SOS, but rather a more general survey found by Jen Giorgetti, counselor, and Trish Griegel, physcologist, to better suit the students’ needs. Reaction to the program has been mixed.
“I felt like [the survey] should have been done earlier because kids in elementary or middle school could also have mental health issues,” Jessie Garcia, freshman, said.
The survey collected data based on the student’s responses to the questions, which would display areas that students are struggling with emotionally or personally, according to Bloodgood. Results were calculated online, allowing social workers to follow up with students the same day.
“Many of the students that were screened were those who reported increased anxiety levels and struggles that impacted their life,” Bloodgood said.
Freshman teachers hope the surveys will be positive, but also wonder about older students.
“Mental illness doesn’t go away as sophomores,” Scott Nissley, math teacher, said.
While the full program is initiating with the freshmen, juniors will also receive the video and parent letter during second semester, and sophomores already have discussions about depression in health classes, according to Bloodgood.
Despite the possible positive influences, some teachers are unsure of the use of the survey in the classroom.
“As long as no [student] is punished for not taking it, then the survey isn’t a violation of privacy,” John Smith, government teacher, said.
According to Brian Bazan, health teacher, it is hard to say how it will affect his class atmosphere, as he doesn’t yet know many details of the survey.