OLATHE, Kan. -- It's a harsh reality that's affected Olathe students and staff in recent years.
"As a district we’ve had some traumatic events happen for our students involving students making the decision to take their own lives," Dr. Erin Dugan, Assistant Superintendent at Olathe, said.
The district is now taking a proactive step in its fight to help students who are most at risk. One in five students are in need of some type of intervention.
"While summer is a fun time of getting to the pool, playing baseball, going out to the pool, and going on family vacations. We have other families and students that are going to need more support during those months," Dr. Dugan said.
The district has partnered with Friends University to provide free, family counseling sessions to Olathe students and their families this summer. Dr. Rebecca Culver-Turner said reaching the student and the family is key.
"It really helps us depathologize the child and not see them as a problem child in the school district or in the classroom but to see them in the context of their family or difficulties that they are facing," Dr. Culver-Turner said.
That context will help student-interns such as Lydia Korte make positive impacts on the children and teens they see.
"We get a lot more context and that means we can make a lot more sense about why things are going on about why things are going on in a kids life that is truly going on. And that helps us see where things can change or shift," Korte said.
It's a shift that the district hopes will last for years to come.
"We’ve learned that we can proactively break through the stigma of mental health and we’ve some incredible benefits of these intensive services," Dr. Dugan said.
Staffers can also take advantage of the free counseling sessions. To sign up you can visit: https://olatheschoolsmentalhealth.youcanbook.me
Sessions will be held from May 30 to July 27 at Prairie Learning Center, 10975 Lone Elm Road, to the immediate West of Olathe Northwest High School.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
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