By Chris Eversole
Identifying some students who need help is easy, Mustang High School Principal Teresa Wilkerson said. “Our teachers are very observant when kids shut down. It’s also easy when kids talk out,” she said.
“The hard part is when they’re rocking along like everything’s OK. The parents have no signs; the school has no signs. They’re involved in everything. They seem happy,” Wilkerson said.
Reaching such students is difficult. “That’s the hard part because they are the kids who are doing the right thing every day, and we have zero idea they need help,” she said.
The high school must take a stance of “universal precautions” for mental health. “In protecting against pathogens, we say treat every blood event like you need to have precautions and wear gloves,” she said.
“We need universal precautions for emotional health too,” she said. “That’s why we teach these lessons in the classroom. That’s why we preach love, kindness and support; we say, ‘there’s someone here for you.’”