Help for Area Teens

Published: January 27th, 2014

Category: Uncategorized

This month is National Mentoring Month, aimed to spread awareness about the need for mentors, as well as how each of us can work together to ensure youth today have better days and brighter futures.

M7403391400_f9c50025f5_bore than 160,000 students in the United States stay home from school each day for fear of being bullied. And, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen suicide is on the rise. Nearly one in six high school students has seriously considered suicide, and one in 12 has attempted it.

So, how can we help the struggling students in our community?

It has been proven that peer support can be especially effective in bullying intervention and suicide prevention. Partners in Adolescent Lifestyle Support program (PALS) is a comprehensive suicide/violence prevention program in three of Gainesville’s public high schools – Buchholz High School, Eastside High School and Gainesville High School – as well as Ft. Clarke Middle School and A. Quinn Jones Center. PALS counselors work together with peer leaders to improve leadership skills as well as encourage empathy and compassion for others through participating in open forums with their peers.

Focus groups deal with topics such as social and leadership skills, personal hygiene and physical image, appropriate outlets for anger, self-esteem building, life goals, building personal happiness, and violence and suicide prevention. To handle these topics, teen leaders participate in role-playing exercises that address a variety of issues like ways to peacefully intercede when another teen is ridiculed, how to extend a helping hand to other teens who appear lonely or depressed and when to seek professional assistance in dealing with an emotionally disturbed peer.

To learn more about PALS, and how you can support PALS counselors and services in helping students overcome social obstacles and achieve their life goals, click here.