At the Greenville County Schools’ board of trustees meeting on March 23, parents, teachers and students from several high schools spoke of the need to address mental health in better, more proactive ways.
One speaker, Amanda Meyer, said her son, Logan, died by suicide in 2019. Logan would have been a senior this year at Riverside High School.
“Logan had dreams and aspirations to become a marine biologist and attend the College of Charleston. He was witty. He was brilliant. He was creative, caring and funny with limitless potential,” she said.
Meyer noted that while four out of five people show “clear warning signs” of suicidal thinking, Logan fell into the group that did not. She wants the school district to do more than just supply a suicide prevention line. The district, she said, should speak out about these issues.
“There’s a lot of talk about how we can take proper precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19, yet what proper precautions are we taking to prevent suicide among our youth?” Meyer asked.
A student at Riverside High School, Emma Wright, said at the meeting that there needs to be more done in schools about mental health. Wright said that while they openly discuss issues like drug use, there’s not that same openness about mental health.
“We must address this problem, and we must address it now,” Wright said. “We need a program in place to teach all of us what to look for, what to ask, what to say and when we see something that is not right.”
“Now, more than ever, school districts must address the mental health needs of its students. For the past several years, Greenville County Schools has been focused on this issue in a big way,” Tim Waller, Greenville County Schools’ media relations director, said in a statement.
Waller noted that the school district employs almost 100 mental health counselors throughout the district and that some schools have more than one.
To help parents understand the various mental health resources available to them and students, Waller said the district is working to create a list of resources.
“We’re going to put together a listing of our many resources to help parents understand what it is we do offer because there are so many programs, so many initiatives, in place that we feel that we need to do a better job of advertising those so parents can understand what it is we’re doing,” said Waller.