Need Someone to Talk to?
24/7: Crisis Clinic of Thurston & Mason Counties
Are you a youth needing someone to talk to? The Teen/Youth Help Line is a 24/7, free, completely confidential and totally anonymous phone line that you can call to talk about anything. As an example, youth call to talk about peer pressure, trouble at home, drug abuse, stress, bullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, problems in relationships and others. Are you having a bad day? The trained youth and adult volunteers at The Crisis Clinic are here to listen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No Crisis is too Small to Make a Call!
- Call the Youth Helpline: 360-586-2777
- OR Text "hello" to 741741
Adults can also call the main Crisis Clinic Helpline at 360-586-2800
24/7: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
If you or someone you know needs support for mental health related distress, call or text 988 or chat 988Lifeline.org. 988 connects you with a trained crisis counselor who can help, no matter where you live.
Your School Counselor is here to help!
Ask any school staff member if you need help getting connected to your school counselor. They have a variety of resources available to help and want to help our students be happy, healthy, and successful in school.
Military Family? Check in with your MFLC
NTPS Military and Family Life Counselors offer free and confidential individual and group support for military families. Services can be scheduled by phone, video, or in person. Visit our Military Family Support page for more info >>
NTPS Students and Mental Health
NTPS has Mental Health Specialists assigned to each of our 22 schools. These professionals hold either a Washington state license as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) or are a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and possess an Educational Support Assistant (ESA) certification in counseling or social work. The role of the Mental Health Specialist is to normalize mental health in the schools by communicating with staff, students, and families about mental health topics. Mental Health Specialists provide individualized mental health support and crisis intervention to students referred by the school counselor.
- provide preventive education on mental health,
- facilitate small therapeutic groups,
- working one on one with students in need of short term mental health support,
- connect students and families to community resources, and
- respond to mental health crisis that may arise in the school
What do I do if I am concerned about a student’s mental health?
Everyone who talks with children can do something to help. There are many resources available but no one knows more about how to get children to the right resources than the child’s school counselor. They are the contact person for community resources outside of your school and for referral to mental health services in the school. Their contact information is available on your school's website.
What can I do as a parent to help my child?
- Let the child know that you are listening.
- Be on the lookout for physical symptoms such as: headaches, excessive worry, stomach aches, increased arguing, irritability, trouble sleeping or eating, loss of concentration, nightmares, withdrawal, clinging behavior, etc.
- If you are concerned about your child, talk directly with their school counselor, family doctor, community mental health professional, or the Crisis Clinic 360-586-2800.
- Hear from real students about their struggles with mental health in this NY Times video >>
Youth Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention
In Washington State, suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens 15 to 19 years old. Comprehensive suicide prevention planning informs all adults in schools and communities about how to intervene with a young person exhibiting warning signs for suicide. There is a place for everyone in suicide prevention. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction strives to provide resources and support through the School Safety Center to help inform Educational Service Districts, School Districts, and Schools in the development of Suicide Prevention Plans.
Know the warnings & take action if you see:
- Talking or writing about suicide or death
- Giving direct verbal cues, such as "I wish I were dead" and "I’m going to end it all"
- Giving less direct verbal cues, such as "You will be better off without me," "What’s the point of living?", "Soon you won’t have to worry about me," and "Who cares if I’m dead, anyway?"
- Isolating themselves from friends and family
- Expressing the belief that life is meaningless
- Giving away prized possessions
- Exhibiting a sudden and unexplained improvement in mood after being depressed or withdrawn
- Neglecting his or her appearance and hygiene
- Dropping out of school or social, athletic, and/or community activities
- Obtaining a weapon (such as a firearm) or another means of hurting themselves (such as prescription medications)
Tips for talking to your child
- First and foremost — listen to your child. Children need to vent, to express all of their concerns, fears, outrage, anger, and upset. They’re not looking for answers, advice, or judgment, only for someone to listen to them. Be that person.
- After the child has spent some time talking about their fears and concerns, reassure them of their safety — that the entire family and school are now focused on keeping them safe and secure.
- When discussing events with younger children, the amount of information shared should be limited to some basic facts. Use words meaningful to them (not words like bomber, killer, etc.). Do not go into specific details with young children because it will often be scarier and less understood.
- Children who have been involved in critical incidents will often ask, “Can this happen to me? Can this happen here?” Do not lie. Reiterate how the school is focused on working to keep everyone safe.
- Remain thoughtful about how much media the child is exposed to, including social media. Parents, caregivers, and teachers should be cautious of permitting young children to watch TV or social media that discuss or show the situation. It is reliving the experience. Personal discussions are the best way to share information with this group. Also, plan to discuss this many times over the coming weeks at any time.
- Do not let your child focus on graphic details. Rather, elicit their feelings and concerns and focus your discussions on what they share with you. Guide them through their discussion of the incident and answer their questions truthfully.
- Reassure them of their safety and your efforts to protect them. Kids must hear this message often.
- Be on the lookout for physical symptoms of anxiety that children may demonstrate. They may be a sign that a child, although not directly discussing the situation, is very troubled by recent events. Talk more directly to children who exhibit these signs more frequently than usual:
- Excessive worry
- Stomach aches
- Increased arguing
- Trouble sleeping or eating
- Loss of concentration
- Refusal to go to school
- Clinging behavior
- If you are concerned about a child and their reaction to an incident, talk directly with their school counselor, family doctor, community mental health professional, or Crisis Clinic at 360-586-2800.
- Reassure your child that they will be protected and kept safe. During events like these, words expressing safety and reassurance with concrete plans should be discussed and agreed upon within the family to provide the most comfort to children.