Parma City School District Focuses on Students’ Socio-Emotional Well-Being with Mental Health Summit

PARMA, Ohio – The City of Parma School District recently hosted its second Mental Health Summit where high school student leaders gathered for a day-long event at Parma High School.

“Each year, we train 50 to 100 students from all three high schools to become mental health ambassadors for their buildings,” said Marian Armstrong, counselor at Parma High School, which coordinated the Mental Health Summit.

“Our district has adopted a Hope Squad suicide prevention program outside of Utah to support these programs. We train our ambassadors at monthly meetings to recognize suicidal ideation or mental health issues in their peers and to be the bridge between those in need and a caring adult. “

On November 22, around 50 participating students – members of Hope Squad from their respective high school selected by their peers to be mental health ambassadors – spent the day at Parma High School in training sessions.

“Students are helping to monitor social media for signs of a crisis and reach those who need it,” Armstrong said. “Our community partners – ADAMHS Board, Recovery Resources, Ohio Guidestone and NAMI – presented a series of workshops to our students during our summit.

“We hope they came away from the top with a better understanding of mental health and a renewed desire to help those in need.”

Scheduled to be an annual affair going forward, the Mental Health Summit debuted in 2019, but was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Someone who attended her second Mental Health Summit is Adonia Vlahopoulos, junior from Valley Forge High School.

“To be a part of this is nice,” said Vlahopoulos. ” It is refreshing. To be able to be here again and see how this is carried out with the three high schools is exciting. I’m glad the Mental Health Summit is in a more visible location because it puts a lot of emphasis on it.

Normandy High School sophomore Gage Wellman enjoyed presenting various resources to the students.

“One of the most important things that I will keep with me from this event is the different forms of anxiety, depression, trauma and how to help someone with these and how to recognize them,” Wellman said.

“It’s a great event that brings together the three high schools. It was really nice to see this happen after COVID. “

On how the Mental Health Summit and the Hope Squad will affect students in need, Viviana Cabrera, eighth grade student at Parma High School, spoke about the bigger picture.

“It was a great honor to be nominated by my peers to be able to participate in Hope Squad and be a part of this event,” said Cabrera.

“It means people feel like they can come to me and talk to me about their problems. They feel like they can trust me and I can give them the help they need.

Read more news from the Parma Sun Post here.

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