In an effort to identify and assist students with their mental health and wellness needs, Sidney Public Schools is utilizing the Rural Montana Behavioral Institute to provide a free screener for all students in 6th-12th grade. This screener is NOT required and any parent/guardian who does not want their student to participate is able to complete an opt-out form. Both the HS and MS opt-out forms were sent home with students and are available above.
In reviewing data that has been collected pre and post COVID, mental health issues are prevalent among teen and adolescent adults throughout the nation. Rural areas can be especially susceptible to anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts/actions. In response to this, we want to be able to screen all students and provide any students who show signs and symptoms of suicidal thoughts or severe depression with resources to help them through those extreme situations.
All data collected from the screener will be done in a way that protects the privacy of all students. They will utilize an ID number that will only be identifiable by school counselors and principals, in the event a student is targeted as high risk. Once identified, parents will be notified and told of the options that are available to their student. All students in the high risk category will be given the option to seek tele-med therapy with a licensed psychiatrist or counselor to help develop an individualized plan for the student.
Sidney High School will be starting its student screeners on Tuesday, September 5th, and Sidney Middle School will begin on Wednesday, September 6th. Each student will only be given the screener 1 time initially. The corresponding screening dates are below.
Our district wants to do everything in our power to help our students overcome struggles both academically and emotionally. This screener will allow us to help with the emotional wellness of our students.
Sidney Public Schools, Superintendent