Mental Health Minute with DWS School Counselor Madhuri Deshmukh

Welcome to my mental health blog! As School Counselor at The Denver Waldorf School, I’ll be posting resources for students and families as we continue to prioritize mental health as a community. If you are in need of my support services, please reach out via email, and bookmark this page for helpful tips and announcements.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is a National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month (September 1 – September 30) that highlights open discussions on depression, mental health, and other social-emotional needs related to suicide and suicidal thoughts. Research states suicide is the second leading cause of death among school-age youth. However, suicide is preventable. People who are considering suicide often give warning signs of their distress. Parents/guardians, teachers, and friends are in a vital position to understand these signs and get them support. One of the essential key elements is not to dismiss warning signs or keep a secret regarding an individual’s safety. When we adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority and are empowered to take the correct actions, we can help/support youth in crisis.

To support this cause at Denver Waldorf School, we request that our students, families, and staff wear suicide awareness colors (yellow, purple, turquoise) on September 28. I will also be training our high school students on suicide awareness & prevention that covers warning signs, resources for help/support, and coping skills on September 21. Please reach out with your concerns or questions regarding this training; happy to help with additional resources. Please know that it is an optional training for students; you can opt-out of your student if needed.

Helpful Resources:

August – Resources for Reducing Back-to-School Anxiety

The beginning of the year after a long summer can be very overwhelming, especially when things start getting back to normal after a pandemic. We get used to not following usual routines during summer and it can be hard to adjust our lives back to the school routine. This shift can create stress and anxiety for anyone. It is not uncommon for children to create scary scenarios about school and be anxious about it. Listen to them, validate those feelings. You might try asking “what..If” questions/statements! For example, if children say, ‘what if my friends do not talk to me?”, “what if my teachers do not like me?”, “what if the school gets too hard”, reply by saying “what..If”. We sometimes unknowingly dismiss children’s feelings by saying ‘everything is going to be okay’. Explore these questions, these feelings, and validate them. Let children feel heard. Once you do that, go to “now..What” statements/questions from “what..If”. Example, ‘okay, what if that subject is hard, now what?’ This way you will encourage children to be problem solvers with your support and help.

There are a few more resources I thought might be helpful to ease your child’s back –to-school stress:

I look forward to building a positive relationship with each of you and looking forward to a wonderful academic year!