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Mental Health programs bring awareness, help

Choices takes proactive approach with two new programs in partnership with HHSA

Choices Program

In January, the Choices Program will launch two school-based mental health programs in partnership with Tulare County Health & Human Services Agency. The programs, SOS (Signs of Suicide) Prevention Program and RESTATE, will be implemented in Kings and Tulare county middle and high schools as models in Choices' regional leadership of the statewide Student Mental Health Initiative.

RESTATE is a stigma and discrimination reduction program designed to educate high school students in Tulare and Kings counties about mental health through a curriculum called Mental Health First Aide. The curriculum incorporates the media arts as a project-based vehicle to promote awareness and understanding. Students in 10 selected Tulare and Kings county high schools will participate in training and research on a mental health topic before creating an artistic project such as a painting, photography, video production or a theatrical performance. The video productions will serve as public service announcements for the campus and the community.

Prevention Project Coordinator René Moncada reports that Choices is seeking several Kings and Tulare county middle and high schools to take a proactive approach and participate in the Signs of Suicide (SOS) Prevention Program. The Choices Program will provide schools the training they need to implement and sustain the SOS Prevention Program. Guided by advisors, the program teaches youth how to identify the symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation in themselves or their friends and encourages them to seek help through the use of the ACT technique (Acknowledge, Care, Tell). SOS has the potential to impact over 5,000 seventh- and ninth-grade students in the two-county area.

Schools interested in participating in either the SOS or RESTATE programs are encouraged to call Choices Program Supervisor Adam Valencia or René Moncada at (559) 651-0155.