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EAHS TeenHope Emotional-Wellness screening

Dear Parents/Guardians,

Your child’s emotional and physical health is a key factor of how well they function in school and how well they engage in relationships with others.  In addition, their happiness and self-esteem are closely related to how they function in school. We are fully dedicated to supporting your child in being healthy and successful in their lives inside and outside of school.  We will be partnering with Samaritan Counseling Center to offer the voluntary TeenHope Emotional-Wellness screening during the week of September 10-12.  TeenHope will use the PHQ-9 and GAD screening tools to identify risk factors related to depression, anxiety, and thoughts of self-harm.  These screenings and the questions they include are easily available to view online.  The screening will be of no cost to you, is voluntary and confidential.

Not every screening will indicate a problem.  In fact, it is likely that most times the screening will just confirm that your child is experiencing normal teenage transitions.  If there are problems that your child is facing that he or she needs support to deal with, TeenHope will assist in identifying those issues.  The program then works with identified teens and their parents to link them with resources in the community, where they can obtain a complete mental health evaluation.  We strongly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity for your child.  Again, it is absolutely confidential.  

The screening will be done for students in grade 9.  The Samaritan Counseling Center will be in charge of the program.  It will be done in a manner that assures that only your child and the mental health professional see your child’s response.  All screening results will be kept confidential.

These steps will be followed as part of the screening process.

  1. Students will complete a 5-minute questionnaire about symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal thinking and behavior.
  2. Teens whose answers reveal a potential problem or ask for help will meet with a trained mental health professional in private to determine if further evaluation would be helpful.
  3. Teens whose answers show they probably do not need help meet briefly with other program staff to ask any questions they may have about the program or ask for help with any other concerns the screening did not cover. These students will be encouraged to identify and reach-out to supportive adults in their life whenever they have concerns.  
  4. A recent survey of young people throughout Lancaster County schools found that about 1 out of 6 reported seriously considering attempting suicide at one point in the last year.  With this in mind TeenHope will be giving every student they see the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number, 1-800-273-TALK (8255). We encourage you to put this in your contacts and use it if you suspect that a teenager you know is suicidal.
  5. Program staff will contact parents only if your teen is recommended for further evaluation.  If this is the case, Samaritan staff will discuss ways you can get help for your teen. Contact is made the day of the screening and at 1 week and 1 month following the screening.  

The school district provides this screening at no cost, but does not provide further evaluation or treatment services.  It is up to you to decide if you want to obtain any additional services for your teen.  Samaritan Counseling Center provides referral information directly to parents.  In addition, Samaritan Counseling Center is available to provide assistance and financial support to parents interested in pursuing mental health services for their child.

We believe this screening opportunity is valuable for our students, so we plan to make this available this year to all students in grade 9. If your child is already receiving mental health services please contact your child’s counselor to determine if the screening would be beneficial or better for your child not to take part in the assessment. If for any reason you do not wish your student to participate, you may opt out by completing and returning the form by September 4 to Gail Fox in the high school office.

Please do not hesitate to call the school at 717-367-1533 or Samaritan Counseling Center at 717-560-9969 if you have any questions.


Richard S. Schwarzman
Assistant to the Superintendent for Student Support Services and Compliance