Mental Well-Being Letter

Dear MPS Parents & Caregivers,

Teenage years can be marked by a roller-coaster ride of emotions – rewarding and challenging for our students, their parents & guardians, and educators. It can be easy to misread mental health issues as typical adolescent turmoil. Depression and anxiety (among the most common
of mental illnesses) appears to be occurring at earlier ages, and can significantly decrease your student’s ability to problem solve and maintain healthy relationships, which may lead to self-injury and/or substance abuse.

Due to the current global pandemic and our remote learning status, there may be an increase in mental health struggles among students, as noted recently by the MA Commissioner of Education, Jeff Reilly, in a memo to the Board of Education. The holiday season, while joyful for many, may cause feelings of loneliness or sadness for others. Consider taking the time to discuss the importance of mental health with your student(s), and if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to your student’s school counselors, principals and social workers during the school day. It can be difficult to have these tough conversations, but they are important.

If you are concerned in any way about your student and their possible risk for depression, anxiety or self-injury, we encourage you to speak with your child, and follow up with a mental health professional for a complete evaluation. Linked in this letter, you will find a list of greater community resources specializing in helping people of all ages surrounding mental health, as well as other potential emergency need topics. Likewise, you may visit our MPS Family Resources hub for academic, technology or social/emotional support resources at any time, as well as the MA state website for maintaining emotional well-being during these unusual times.

We wish you all a happy and safe winter break.

John Oteri, Superintendent of Schools