• Break Free From Depression
    Addressing Mental Health with Our Freshmen
    For our freshmen, the first year of high school can be an exciting and challenging time of their lives. To help them navigate a new learning environment and new friends, we’re offering them the tools and techniques to cope with emotional and developmental issues. We believe the more our students feel comfortable talking about the emotional and psychological challenges they are facing, the more we can help them normalize it. Therefore, creating awareness and having an open dialogue surrounding our students' social and emotional needs is an important part of our programming.

    We will address mental health topics with the freshmen class in two ways:

    • Break Free from Depression Curriculum
    • Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression
  • Break Free from Depression Curriculum 
    School counselors present the Break Free from Depression Curriculum to freshmen during Career Enrichment. This Curriculum consists of 4 modules designed by the Swensrud Depression Prevention Initiative, which is based in the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Boston Children’s Hospital. This program is a preventive intervention tool designed to educate and support adolescents in the face of emotional and psychological challenges. This universal psychoeducation and skill-building curriculum is a tool for students to use so that things do not escalate to the point of needing treatment. 

    Module 1: Psychoeducation 
    Students are given a pre-survey to see what they already know about depression. Then, they are presented with information including dispelling myths about depression, the biopsychosocial model of depression, and differences between stress and depression. At the end of the class, there will be an opportunity for discussion. 

    Module 2: Viewing the Documentary 
    Students will read an introductory script and review how to access help before viewing a documentary. Parents are advised to view the trailer prior to this lesson taking place.

    BFFD Documentary
    There will be an option for students to leave class prior to or during the film if needed, as it may be difficult for some viewers. Parents are also encouraged to provide school counseling with advanced notice, if they foresee any issues with their teen viewing the content. Counselors will also be monitoring student reactions to the film and provide support as needed.   

    Module 3: Debriefing the Documentary 
    Students will participate in a case-based group discussion, review the warning signs of suicide, and participate in a guided discussion on topics presented in the documentary. 

    Module 4: Coping Skills 
    Students will be presented with information about treating depression, strategies for approaching a trusted adult in school, accessing help and/or treatment in the community, approaching someone about whom they are concerned, and daily coping skills. Then, they will complete a post-survey regarding the curriculum. 

  • Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression
    Our school counselors are here to assist parents in watching for signs of depression and suicidal ideation in our students, as well as help students in accessing appropriate care when needed. To that end, the Brief Screen for Adolescent Depression (BSAD) is administered to freshmen at the end of our depression education curriculum. The purpose of the screening is not to diagnose; BSAD assesses for depression and suicide risk and identifies students that may need to be referred for further evaluation by a doctor or mental health professional.

    If you DO NOT want your child to take part in the survey, please fill out and electronically sign the opt-out form below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact School Counseling.

  • Important Dates
    Tuesday, January 30th
    Deadline to opt-out of the
    Brief Screening for Adolescent Depression
    Break Free from Depression Pre-Test/Intro

    Wednesday, January 31st
    Break Free from Depression
    Module 1: Psychoeducation
    Thursday, February 1st
    Break Free from Depression
    Module 2: Viewing the Documentary 

    Friday, February 2nd
    Break Free from Depression
    Module 3: Debriefing the Documentary,
    Module 4: Coping Skills, and Post-Test

    Tuesday, February 6th
    Brief Screening for
    Adolescent Depression