FAYETTEVILLE-MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — The Fayetteville Manlius School District is offering three virtual workshops focusing on mental health awareness and wellness to families beginning Monday, December 5.

The district is hosting these virtual workshops as a part of its ongoing efforts to enhance its students wellness.

Additionally, the district is offering “Mental Health Mondays” from December 5 through 19 that will focus on topics of anxiety, depression and suicide with mental health educator William DeSantis, who serves as a part of the district’s Contact Community Services.

The FM school district isn’t the only school district in Central New York that has offered mental health workshops for families, especially after the New York Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act (SAVE Act) was introduced.

The SAFE Act was introduced in the 2020-2021 school year to help improve school safety and to require school districts develop a comprehensive district-wide school safety plan that addresses crisis intervention, emergency responses and management. One of the schools selected for that program included West Genesee Central School District.

The key findings of the SAFE Act found that trainings offered by the selected districts lacked sufficient content to ensure the staff was, at a minimum, trained on recommended mental health components.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control agrees with these findings. During the COVID-19 pandemic school year, more than 37 percent of high school students reported they experienced poor mental health and 44 percent reported feeling constantly sad or hopeless.

In the FM school districts workshops, parents and guardians are recommended to attend the first two sessions about “More than Sad – Parent Education” and “Question, persuade and refer (QPR) Gatekeeper Training.”

Teenage students 13 years old or older are welcome to attend the third session called “It’s Real: Teens and Mental Health.”

More information about each session is below.

Fayetteville-Manlius School District Mental Health Workshops

More than Sad – Parent Education

Monday, December 5

12:00 p.m. afternoon session

6:30 p.m. evening session

The “More than Sad” workshop developed by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is designed for parents and guardians of teen youth and aims to help caregivers better understand suicidal behavior, recognize signs of depression and other mental health problems.

After understanding the following, parents are suggested to initiate conversations about mental health with their child. 

QPR Gatekeeper Training

Monday, December 12

12:00 p.m. afternoon session

6:30 p.m. evening session

The QPR training workshop aims to help parents, guardians and caregivers to become “gatekeepers” by educating them about the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond. Gatekeepers can recognize and refer someone at risk of suicide and help save lives.

It’s Real: Teens and Mental Health

Monday, December 19

6:30 p.m. evening session

This workshop helps raise awareness about mental health issues commonly experienced by students and attendees can learn about general mental health, methods of self-care and how and where to reach out for help.