July, 20 2018

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Ohio Program Reaches out to Troubled Teens

Educators at Hamilton High School are inviting students to help themselves, their friends and classmates through the Helping Hands/Friends Helping Friends Program an extension of the Hamilton High School Crisis Intervention Team.

"There are times in life when we all need to reach out to someone else to help us through those difficult times," said Linda Milholland, a HHS counselor. "Through this program we want to let students know that it is okay to reach out and that there are many individuals inside our building who care about students."

How this Program Helps Troubled Teens

The program is designed to give students an opportunity to talk to caring team members teachers, counselors and administrators about stress, depression or any concern they are comfortable talking about, team members said.

"It is also important to let students know that they can come to us to talk about relationships whether it be with family members or classmates," said Kim Vieira, a HHS health teacher and chairman of the program.

The crisis team was formed last year out of a "concern that maybe we weren't reaching out enough to our students," he said. "We are trying to be more proactive than reactive."

Educators also are asking students to help one another. Each student was given a questionnaire that listed signs to look for in a teen contemplating hurting himself or herself.

In the last year, four students at the school have committed suicide, the most recent in September.

Students were asked to circle the signs that a classmate may be exhibiting, write down the name of that classmate, and return it to a counselor or teacher at the school.

All information is kept confidential, Vieira stressed, adding that students "are not snitching, they are reaching out.

Some Troubled Teens are Using the Program to Help Themselves

"A lot of the students will actually put their own names on the sheet seeking help and now we have a tool that we can use to help them before they feel it is hopeless and they have no where to turn," Vieira said.

Members of the team can be identified by the "helping hands" painted outside their doors at the school.

"Since the referrals were made available, crisis team members have talked with numerous students regarding personal issues. We want students to know that we care about them and that we want them to be happy and healthy," Milholland, said.

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