Panther Awareness
O ne in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder in a given year.

Mental health is one of the foundations of childhood development. The World Health Organization defines general health as “physical, mental and social well-being”. As a district we want to help to empower parents with an understanding of mental health in students. Panther Awareness will be a monthly mental health newsletter that will provide education on what to look for, how to help, and resources for parents concerning mental health. Parents need to be as aware of a child’s mental status as they are of a child’s physical condition. The mental health of a child is not as easy for a parent to assess and understand as physical health.

What is mental health?
Positive mental health is more then just the absence of a mental illness. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines mental health as a state of well-being that involves:
  • Being able to recognize a person’s own abilities
  • Coping with normal stressors
  • Working productively
  • Contributing to society

Signs of mental health concerns

It is important to be aware of warning signs that your child may be struggling. You play a critical role in knowing when your child may be in need help.
  • Feeling sad or withdrawn for more than two weeks
  • Seriously trying to harm or kill himself or herself, or making plans to do so
  • Experiencing sudden overwhelming fear for no reason, sometimes with a racing heart or fast breathing
  • Getting in many fights
  • Showing out-of-control behavior that can hurt oneself or others
  • Not eating
  • Having intense worries or fears that get in the way of daily activities
  • Experiencing extreme difficulty controlling behavior, putting himself or herself in physical danger or causing problems in school
  • Using drugs or alcohol repeatedly
  • Having severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
  • Showing drastic changes in behavior or personality
  • Loss of interest in activities
Because children often can't understand difficult situations on their own, you should pay particular attention if they experience:
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Divorce or separation of their parents
  • Any major transition—new home, new school, etc.
  • Traumatic life experiences, like living through a natural disaster
  • Teasing or bullying
  • Difficulties in school or with classmates

How to talk to your child about Mental Health
Do you need help starting a conversation with your child about mental health? Try leading with these questions. Make sure you actively listen to your child's response.
  • Can you tell me more about what is happening? How you are feeling?
  • Have you had feelings like this in the past?
  • Sometimes you need to talk to an adult about your feelings. I'm here to listen. How can I help you feel better?
  • Do you feel like you want to talk to someone else about your problem?
  • I'm worried about your safety. Can you tell me if you have thoughts about harming yourself or others?
When talking about mental health problems with your child you should:
  • Communicate in a straightforward manner
  • Speak at a level that is appropriate to a child or adolescent's age and development level (preschool children need fewer details than teenagers)
  • Discuss the topic when your child feels safe and comfortable
  • Watch for reactions during the discussion and slow down or back up if your child becomes confused or looks upset
  • Listen openly and let your child tell you about his or her feelings and worries

How to help
Consult with a school counselor, school nurse, mental health provider, or another health professional on mental health services. Also, has resources on mental health issues under the student mental health wellness link. Please feel free to contact Wendy Ford , Mental Health Coordinator with any questions or concerns.
Student Safety Reporting

If you believe your child is being bullied, harassed, or you suspect any type of suspicious behavior, contact your child’s principal or report the incident through our  Student Safety Reporting System .

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Thank you for reading this Student Mental Health Services Update.

Mental Health Coordinator, Wendy Ford

Student Mental Health Services
1685 S. Main Street
Springboro, OH 45066
P: 937-748-3950 (x4405)