Engaging Summit County educators and staff on the importance of mental health

CONNECT is identifying resources for Summit County educators to better help our young people identify the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, suicidality, and other challenges in themselves and their peers.

School-based Mental Health Service can make a difference in the lives of children and their families Valley Behavioral Health’s School-Based Mental Health Services can provide your child with an experienced therapist conveniently located at your child’s school.  Valley works closely with the Summit County school district to advocate for and increase your child’s success in class, with peers, family, and with the community.   Valley can provide mental health screenings and assessments, individual and family therapy, and prevention and intervention services in both English and Spanish.  To learn more about Valley’s school-based mental health services in Summit County, please call: 435-649-8347.

The SOS Signs of Suicide® High School Prevention Program  is a universal, school-based depression awareness and suicide prevention program designed for middle-school (ages 11–13) or high-school (ages 13–17) students. The goals are to 1) decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression, 2) encourage personal help-seeking and/or help-seeking on behalf of a friend, 3) reduce the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the importance of seeking help or treatment, 4) engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention through “gatekeeper” education, and 5) encourage schools to develop community-based partnerships to support student mental health. Screening for Mental Health’s Youth Programs Team offers individuals the opportunity to attend national trainings to become certified to guide school staff and individuals. If you are interested in learning more about becoming a SOS Signs of Suicide Prevention Program Certified Trainer, Please Click Here.

Special Services at School: Understanding IEP and Section 504 Programs.  Special education is tailored to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The services and supports one child receives may be very different from what another child receives. It’s all about individualization. What’s important is giving kids the resources they need to make progress in school.   The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that defines and regulates special education. The law requires public schools to provide special education services to children ages 3 to 21 who meet certain criteria. (Children younger than 3 can get help through IDEA’s early intervention services.)

To qualify for special education services, a student must:

The IEP is often described as the cornerstone of special education. That’s because this legally binding document details a student’s annual learning goals as well as the special services and supports the school will provide to help him meet those goals. For more information see Parents as Partners in the IEP Process.  

If your child has learning and attention issues and is struggling in school, you may be curious about 504 plans. If your child doesn’t qualify for an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a 504 plan may be a good alternativeMuch like an IEP, a 504 plan can help students with learning and attention issues learn and participate in the general education curriculum. A 504 plan outlines how a child’s specific needs are met with accommodations, modifications and other services. These measures “remove barriers” to learning.  Keep in mind that a student with a 504 plan usually spends the entire school day in a general education classroom. And typically, children who need modifications would have an IEP, not a 504 plan.

If your questions remain, please see this chart which outlines the differences between IEP and 504 Plans:

Children up to age 21 are entitled to appropriate public education for their needs. For help working with your local school district to secure that, you can find professional help at the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates site. The organization’s online parent forums contain a wealth of information from parents in the trenches. Click on a state to retrieve a current listing of all current COPAA attorney, advocates, and related professional members who practice in that state: http://www.copaa.org/search/custom.asp?id=1489

The Utah Parent Center is an award-winning training and information center founded in 1983 by parents of children and youth with all disabilities to help other parents facing similar challenges throughout Utah. The caring and competent staff of the UPC utilizes a proven, effective parent-to-parent model to help thousands of parents annually.  Located in Salt Lake City, the Center serves families across Utah across a wide range of physical and mental health disabilities.  Services of the Utah Parent Center are typically free.  One-on-one consultations, workshops and presentations for parents are free. The available resources are outstanding and extremely well organized. The UPC helps parents and professionals through:

  • Toll-free telephone access to the Center and trained parents (Parent Consultants) who provide information, support and referrals.
  • Workshops and presentations on a variety of topics related to special education, health and other issues pertinent to the needs of families.
  • Online training resources, such as video modules, webinars and print resources.
  • An electronic newsletter (e-Connections) which contains the latest program and event information
  • A library of resources to help parents increase their knowledge and improve skills.
  • Trained local volunteers and IEP Coaches to support parents.
  • Services and supports to Spanish-speaking parents.

Note: As a parent of a child with mental health challenges, it is critical to learn the importance of IEPs (Individualized Education Programs) and Section 504 Plans. The Utah Parent Center will be happy to serve as advocates at your 504/IEP school meeting.

The 2019 Utah Student Health and Risk Prevention (SHARP) Statewide Survey was designed to assess Utah adolescent substance use, mental health, suicide, anti-social behavior, and the risk and protective factors that predict these adolescent problem behaviors.  You can read the 2019 Survey for Summit County by Clicking Here.