Mental Health Awareness Month
The pandemic has brought to the fore some often overlooked issues within our community, most notably, in mental health. Isolation and stress, two bi-products of the pandemic, make living with mental illness that much more difficult. Schools often serve as a safe space for students with built-in positive support systems and, most importantly, trusted adults.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 20% of youth have a diagnosed mental health disorder in the United States, with the early signs of mental illness manifesting, on average, at age 14 - when most students enter high school.
Additionally, National Survey of Drug Use and Health data shows mental health diagnoses, suicide rates, non-suicidal self-injury, and emergency room visits for students experiencing mental health issues are on the rise.
In the last five years, the number of children ages 6-12 admitted to children’s hospitals for suicidal thoughts or self-harm has more than doubled according to the Children’s Hospital Association. Indeed, the CDC has declared suicide the second leading cause of death among youth ages 15 to 19 years old.
The Monrovia Unified School District Board of Education adopted a Mental Health resolution during its April 28 meeting, proclaiming May as “Mental Health Awareness Month.” The resolution calls upon the citizens, government agencies, public and private institutions, businesses and schools in the City of Monrovia, to recommit our community to increasing awareness and understanding of mental health, the steps we can each take to protect our mental health, and the need for appropriate and accessible services for all people with mental health conditions.
Within our schools, we have a multi-tiered system of support, supplemented by partnerships within the mental health services community. We know students are more likely to follow through with mental health services in school settings, and bringing those services onto campus enables easier communication among providers, parents, and teachers.
In a time filled with so many challenges, let us continue to work together toward a common cause: the health of every member of the Monrovia community.
Parent Access To Healing Supports (P.A.T.H.S.)
If your child is struggling with mental health issues and you would like to talk to other parents facing the same challenges, join our Monrovia P.A.T.H.S. group for its final meeting of the year, Thursday, May 20 from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. or 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Click HERE for more information and to access the Zoom meeting.
During these unprecedented times, P.A.T.H.S. has offered support to our Monrovia families. We understand the critical role family members and caregivers play in helping and supporting children who experience mental health conditions. Our goal is to provide families going through similar circumstances with additional resources and a safe place to share stories.
Vaccine Available for Anyone 16 and Over
It has never been easier to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. If you are at least 16 years of age, just show up at a county-run site during operating hours to get vaccinated. Alternatively, you may schedule an appointment for you, or someone else, on MyTurn.ca.gov. Your first and second dose appointments will be confirmed, and you won’t need to register at the site.
Please be sure to take the following with you:
- Photo ID
- Proof that you live or work in L.A. County
- Proof that you are age 16 or older
- The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine authorized for 16- and 17-year-olds. You will be turned away if you go to a site that does not offer Pfizer. Visit VaccinateLaCounty.com to see a list of sites offering the Pfizer vaccine.
Summer School Opportunities
MUSD is expanding its summer learning opportunities for K-12. If you are interested in registering your child for summer school or a summer “Boost” course, please contact your school.
I want to add my voice to the loud chorus that will continue to celebrate our school employees throughout the month of May. May begins with Teacher Appreciation Week and also includes some very special employee recognitions: School Principal Day; National Teacher Appreciation Day; Classified Appreciation Day, National School Nurse Day, and School Lunch Hero Day, which honors the contributions of our Food Services team. Please join me in recognizing our school employees for their steadfast commitment to our students, to one another, and to our broader school communities, in this especially challenging year.
We look forward to reopening our schools full time next year with all of our students together.
Dr. Katherine Thorossian