As we close out 2019 and look ahead to 2020 and beyond, Erika’s Lighthouse is excited about new possibilities and reaching new populations.
Over the past few years, Erika’s Lighthouse has successfully implemented classroom-based programming in diverse school districts around the country. Our middle and high school programs are being offered in schools ranging from rural districts like Petersburg, Alaska to urban centers like Los Angeles, California and everything in between. The diversity of our videos and the universal need has allowed Erika’s Lighthouse to become a recognized leader.
We want to continue this effort with new opportunities for new, diverse populations. Depression, suicide and other mental health challenges do not discriminate. We must be prepared to meet the needs of every community in every school.
With the creation of our newest programs, we have focused on ensuring Spanish-speaking populations are not only reached but represented in our initiatives. Our high school program includes a Spanish speaking teen who immigrated from Mexico. Our middle and high school program videos include Spanish subtitles.
We also offer a number of our resources for students in both English and Spanish. In particular, our Teen Bookmark, located for free within our Resource Portal, offers information about the signs and symptoms of depression as well as tips to promote positive mental health. This helpful tool can also be customized for teens to have a trusted adult to speak with if they are struggling.
Our Parent Handbook was recently translated into Spanish, marking a renewed focus on helping diverse families. The Parent Handbook is a phenomenal resource that helps parents understand childhood & teen depression along with treatment and how to promote positive mental health.
The handbook is written by parents for parents and provides practical strategies for families to implement at home. Making this available in Spanish ensures all families can access support and services their families need.
Improving Health Education
We are also focusing on providing health educators the lesson plans and tools they need to teach their students. Skills-based health education, meeting national CDC standards, has been an increasing focus for health educators nationwide. In order to meet those needs, Erika’s Lighthouse is excited to be working with a nationally recognized consultant.
We are currently undergoing updates to create a stronger skill progression within our 3 lessons. The goal is to meet National Health Education Standard 3 on Accessing Information. Ultimately improving teens’ help seeking behavior to ensure they can identify and speak with a trusted adult. The revision will also include engaging performance assessments to assess knowledge and skill gain.
Our new lesson plans should be available by the start of the 2020-21 school year.
In addition to Classroom Programs and the Parent Handbook, we are working on upgrading our Teen Empowerment activities and club gatherings. We believe teens can change the world, and they can start with their home school communities. By empowering today’s youth, they can be prepared to be leaders in tomorrow’s mental health discussions.
We recently launched new Teen Empowerment Club resources and are hosting a club meetup in March. All this, while always adding new and exciting awareness activities for clubs to implement. Many of these ideas and resources are peer-driven, enabling today’s students to set the tone for our activities.
Erika’s Lighthouse will continue to develop, update and produce high-quality programs that address the mental health challenges teens are facing. In doing so we will always be working to adapt them for populations in need.
We are excited to have you join us in 2020 as we continue to support teen depression education.
From the Desk of the ED: Brandon M. Combs, MNA