Applause today for Montgomery’s ‘endless support’

“Endless support” — what better gift could somebody give a child!

That’s what’s happening in the Montgomery Area School District where a healthy, wealthy and wise program covers everything from sleep habits and healthy relationships to stress reduction.

It’s about empowering youngsters to look after their own health, according to Denise Liscum, secondary school counselor in the district.

“We started to provide programs that really empower our kids to take a little bit of control over their own mental, physical and emotional health,” she recently told the school board.

She makes it sound simple, though the district has gone to a great length to make it happen. Some type of mental health first aid or suicide prevention training has been provided to 100 percent of the teachers at every grade level.

The district also received a grant to hire a full-time licensed professional counselor to provide “therapeutic intervention” for individuals and groups.

These steps do not just react to a statistic — 25 to 40 percent of American students struggle with some type of mental health issue, according to Liscum — but, even better, direct action that may save a young person’s life and definitely guide them to a better place.

Every year we hear about how much harder it has become to be a young person today and about the toll it takes on them emotionally. We hear stories of youth suicide — it’s happened in our own communities.

We don’t doubt that the struggle has become that much more difficult, particularly in this age of social media and bullying that often takes place.

Add into that the global pandemic of the past year and how it has cut off students from others while studying remotely, perhaps with new stresses at home.

It can be a lot to handle, and we admire how Montgomery is doing it.

So applause to the Montgomery Area School District for their approach to dealing with mental health issues among the student population and for going the length to provide “endless support.”


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