Lifesaving Help for Mental Health Awareness Month

More than 7,400 students in six area school districts received a treat with a message this month: snack packs with two lifesaver candies, resource cards listing organizations offering help for mental health issues, and a note that said “Be a lifesaver, let someone know help is within reach.” The packs, distributed for Mental Health Awareness Month by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Wayne/Pike Northeast Suicide Prevention Initiative (NSPI), went to students in grades 7 through 12 in Wayne Highlands, Western Wayne, Wallenpaupack Area, Delaware Valley, Forest City Regional and East Stroudsburg school districts. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, between April and October 2020, at the height of the pandemic, hospital emergency departments saw visits from children for mental health needs rise sharply from the year before – up 24% for children aged 5-11 and 31% for young people 12-17.
NSPI groups involved in the effort also included the Wayne County Office of Behavioral and Developmental Programs and Early Intervention and Carbon-Monroe-Pike Mental Health and Developmental Services.