Prevention for Families

Keep Your Teen Drug-Free :: June '21 Issue

Substance-Free Summer Fun

School’s almost out, COVID restrictions are easing up, and it’s been about a year since our young people have shut their screens down for an extended period of time.


This is all great news and I think most of us are excited for our kids to have a break, but they still need some guidance and prevention efforts during the summer months!


With more free time, less supervision, and time with peers, substances may make their way into the mix of summer activities. What can you do to support a substance free summer? Here are some tips:


  • Set expectations around substance use
  • Know where your teen is, who they are with, and what activities they’re doing
  • Promote healthy coping skills like walking, mindful breathing, being outside, etc.
  • Role model healthy behaviors
  • Talk with your teen about how to get out of a situation where substances are present
  • Provide or encourage positive, substance-free activities like exercising, family time, enrichment programming/summer camps, getting a job, volunteering, creative projects, or whatever it is they enjoy doing!
  • Provide support if they need help with substance use

Mental Health Support Over Summer Break

Our school district counseling staff will be out of the office for summer break, returning at the end of August, but there are many community supports available if your child needs help over the summer. It has been a difficult year, so please seek help when you or your family need it. Check out these pages if you need help:


https://www.whatcomcounty.us/DocumentCenter/View/28170/Accessing-Behavioral-Health-Services-2019?bidId=


https://www.whatcomcounty.us/668/Behavioral-Mental-Health


https://www.7cups.com/

Best Wishes for a Fun and Safe Summer from Your SAP

As our year comes to a close, I want to thank you all for the many efforts you put forth to support your children, especially during this trying year.


It has been a pleasure partnering with you to promote health among our Shuksan community, and I hope this newsletter series has been helpful along the way.


I look forward to working with you and your children in the new school year and I would like to encourage you to reach out in the last few weeks of this year as well as next year if you have any questions or concerns.

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Crucial Conversations Challenge: Supporting LGBTQ Students

We know that young people who identify as members of the LGBTQ community are at higher risk for a multitude of mental health issues compared to cisgender youth, including higher rates of substance use.


One of the biggest factors that plays into this figure is that LGBTQ youth are 40 percent less likely to have an adult they feel they can turn to when they need support, and we know that having a trusted adult is the biggest protective factor against substance use.


What does this mean for parents? Mostly that young people need support, just like always! And if your child identifies as LGBTQ, or if you know a young person who identifies as LGBTQ, they may need additional support. Here are some ways to check in with your teen:

  • I’ve noticed ___ and I wonder how you’re doing.
  • I am here for you. What can I do to support you?
  • I don’t know the best way to support you, but I can help find someone who does.

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SMS Prevention Club

Shuksan Middle School has a student-led prevention club that aims to promote mental/physical wellness, healthy choices, and connection. When teens are well and feel connected to their school community, they make better decisions around substance use. Our Prevention Club will be reconvening in September and is open to all students at SMS. If your student is interested in getting involved, have them contact Mr. Giles through email. They will get an invitation to join and participate in prevention discussions and projects. Students will also have the opportunity to attend prevention conferences with clubs across WA state. Previous projects have included decorating bulletin boards around the school, organizing and participating in the Shuksan Family Community Night, and clean-up projects to keep our school clean and safe
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Shuksan Middle School SAP Program

Worried that your teen may be struggling with substance-related issues? The Student Assistance Professional (SAP) Program exists to serve students who may be using substances themselves, are at a higher risk for using substances, or are struggling with family members who use substances. Students can work one-on-one with the Student Assistance Professional or participate in a group with other students with similar experiences. Services are tailored to individual student needs and often include learning coping skills, teaching refusal skills, and learning about the risks of substance use. All referrals and conversations are confidential, and students will not get in trouble for disclosing information to the Student Assistance Professional. (Limitations to confidentiality are suicide plans, reports of abuse, or information about the injury of another person). Referrals can be made by phone or email to Mr. Giles.

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What would you like to see in the next issue?

Contact Kelly Giles with any suggestions, comments, or questions.


Kelly Giles

Student Assistance Professional (SAP) Shuksan Middle School

Northwest ESD 189

360-676-4857 or 360-676-6470 ext 4857

kgiles@nwesd.org

kelvin.giles@bellinghamschools.org

Parent Resources

Kelly Giles

Student Assistance Professional (SAP)

Shuksan Middle School

Northwest ESD 189