Providing support

Students live in a difficult time. Social emotional health issues have become a constant battle for everyone, including schools and students. Social media enhances the issues each student goes through. 

Students have a lot on their minds. A large majority of what a student has to deal with can and does interfere with their academic success. Managing the balance between academics and social emotional issues is difficult. 

This is more than a school-based issue. It is a societal and a parenting issue. Strategies must be in place at all three levels to assure success. One cannot be successful without the other. 

The Spearfish School District has procedures in place to identity and assist students. Counselors, teachers, advisors, administrators, school psychologist, school resource officers all cover facets of the multitude of issues. None are experts though. Every situation is different. Some are easily solved. Some are not. All require face-to-face communication. The school ‘team” will provide support, guide and mentor however they can. But, many times outside experts specifically trained in mental health are needed. 

One year ago, the Spearfish School Board gave approval for the implementation of the TeamMates mentoring program. This was another great step for our students and our community. The program is not without a great deal of time and work. This program will be yet another method for us to assist students with the many issues they face. 

TeamMates partners with school districts and communities to provide the support and encouragement of mentors to students. The goal is for mentees to develop safe, positive relationships with their mentors and for those matches to last through high school graduation. TeamMates is a one-to-one, school-based mentoring program. The program is a partnership between the school district, community, and TeamMates bringing together experts in mentoring and the needs of youth to produce high quality mentoring relationships.

Community support for TeamMates is critical because of the continual need for volunteer adult mentors. The Spearfish community has embraced our work with TeamMates. SHS appreciates everyone’s support. 

Mentors have a significant impact on youth. To date, the Spearfish mentoring program has 17 mentor mentee matches. That keeps all involved very busy. Please help us grow this proven successful program. The time we invest in youth will provide huge dividends moving forward. 

With the numerous mental health issues that we read and hear about daily, assessing a student’s current life and how they feel their life will be in the future is vital. Studies show that students with a higher wellbeing tend to have more positive thoughts of their present and future lives, better health, and stronger social connections. Mentors, whomever that may be, help. 

Building relationships and getting to know kids at a personal level is vital. Everyone at some point in their life with suffer a traumatic event. Some will be more personal than others. None are easy. 

Moving forward from the experience is the most important aspect. It is not “moving on” it is moving “forward”. For most youth, assistance is necessary. Mental health is real for everyone. 

Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.

“If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.” – Russell Wilson

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