Aug 31, 2015 3:07 PM
EXETER - Classes started Monday for students at Exeter High School and, this year, teachers and administrators are prepared for learning beyond the regular academics.
A new mental health team has been hired to counsel students who have anxiety, depression, trauma, or emotional difficulties.
"It's okay if you have anxiety. It's okay if you're depressed. It's not something to hide from. Let's use it proactively and work with these students for success," said James Tremblay, Principal of Exeter High School.
The Exeter community is still recovering after the suicides of two Exeter High School students who should have graduated with the class of 2015. Across the U.S. one out of five teens admits to contemplating suicide. In New Hampshire, suicides are the second leading cause of death among young people. Vehicle accidents rank as number one.
Newly hired at Exeter High School, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Brianne Lewis looks forward to working with teens who have mental health issues.
"Kids are being diagnosed with anxiety and depression at a younger age. I will be doing individual and group counseling and touching base with the home and the community to make sure they're working together with the student," said Lewis.
A classroom has been designated as a safe haven for students who are having difficulties.
"We have to make sure we're not just teaching ABC's but teaching life long skills that will lead to success," said Tremblay.
Mike Maltagliati, another newly hired mental health professional, will be managing student cases and making sure teens get follow up care when it's need.
"A lot of kids have family issues and troubled home lives. I can help to redirect them to find positive outlets for whatever else is going on in their lives," said Maltagliati.
For more information about mental health programs in New Hampshire, go to the Connect Suicide Prevention and Postvention website at theconnectproject.org
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