‘Our pandemic’: Hillsborough Schools taking on teen mental health crisis

Tampa, Fla. (WFLA) – While May is Mental Health Awareness Month, Hailey Ascierno’s mother is on a mission to stop stigma 365 days a year.

“This has to be seen as another condition,” says Lisa Ascierno, “There is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Lisa Ascierno started Hailey’s Voice of Hope after her 17-year-old girlfriend took her own life in 2017.

“Hailey is funny, she’s smart, she’s quirky, she’s talented, she’s artistic, and she doesn’t want anyone to worry about her,” Ascierno said.

With an increasing number of students with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent Addison Davis said “mental health is our pandemic.”

CDC studies show that 37% of high school students reported poor mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 44% said they felt sad or hopeless in the past year.

At a news conference on Monday, Davis said Hillsborough School is focused on early intervention.

“It can’t be a band-supporting approach,” he said.

Mental Health experts from a Tampa nonprofit’s mobile response unit assessed more than 1,000 students, Davis said. A primary goal to prevent unnecessary Baker Behaviors.

“Does it take a clinician to be able to engage them or do the students just need to breathe to be able to relax?” Davis said.

This program is intended to help students grow academically, socially, and emotionally at the start of the school year.

“To know that there is a real mental health professional helping these students when they are in crisis,” says Ascierno. “I can’t say enough good things about.”

Hailey’s Voice of Hope takes a unique approach at Hillsborough School to teach about the signs, symptoms and resources available for mental illness.

“If we can save one person,” Ascierno said. “Hopefully when we see Hailey again, she’ll say, wow you guys did a great job.”

https://www.wfla.com/news/hillsborough-county/our-pandemic-hillsborough-schools-taking-on-teen-mental-health-crisis/ ‘Our pandemic’: Hillsborough Schools taking on teen mental health crisis

Alley Einstein

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