A key part of your child’s health is social and emotional health. Sixth graders are beginning to learn to recognize and manage difficult emotions and learning coping skills. We know that pre-adolescents often turn to their friends for support. We also know that children need to understand when and how to reach out to an adult when problems are serious.
As our 6th grade Student Assistance Counselor, I will be teaching three 6th grade lessons in your child’s health class to address these issues. The lessons include:
1. Reporting concerns to a trusted adult
2. Healthy vs unhealthy coping skills to deal with stress and avoid high risk
3. Suicide prevention: education about depression and sharing concerns with a
Students are told to talk to a “trusted adult” when they or their friends are:
● In danger of hurting themselves or talking about suicide,
● In danger of hurting someone else,
● Being harmed or hurt by someone else.
We have included nicotine (vaping) in our list of risky behavior to address in 6th grade, along with alcohol and other drugs, because of the rise in use among children.
We also include a warning to avoid “the choking game” (also called Pass Out, Black Out, Tap Out, California High, Space Monkey, etc.). Choking cuts off blood flow and oxygen to the brain. Children experience dizziness from lack of blood and oxygen, and lightheadedness when blood rushes back into the brain. Because of the lack of oxygen, children do not know when they may faint, pass out, or actually die.
We have addressed suicide prevention in 6th grade for over 10 years. Children need to know what depression is and how to recognize warning signs in themselves and in their friends.
Our goals are to:
● Raise awareness of mental health issues and risky behavior,
● Encourage students to seek adult support when they are worried for themselves or for a friend.
If you, as parents, have concerns about your child, please reach out to one of our Student Assistance Counselors or your child’s School Counselor for guidance in getting your child the help he/she may need.