Mental Health Monthly

March 2023

Updates from Manning's Mental Health Team.

What's Been Going On?

Student Check-ins

In February we completed the Signs of Suicide (SOS) lesson for all grade levels and have checked in with all the students who asked to meet one-on-one to discuss SOS regarding themselves or a friend/peer along with any friends/peers who were referred. Now we are working to meet individually with those student who;

1. could not identify a trusted adult at Manning.

2. could not identify three coping skills.

We are meeting one-on-one with them to help them be able to identify a trusted adult and/or come up with some coping skills they can use.

Just like any other skill, coping strategies take practice! The more you practice them, the easier and more helpful they will be in those high stress situations!

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What's Coming Up?

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QPR Virtual Suicide Prevention Training for Parents/Caregivers

QPR teaches people to:

  • Recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis

  • How to ask someone directly if they are feeling suicidal

  • How to refer someone to help

Wednesday, March 8 from 11:00am-12:30pm (Virtual Training)

Spots are limited, REGISTER HERE

Signs of Suicide for Adults of Manning Students

We are holding a Signs of Suicide training for Manning students’ caregivers on March 9 after school from 4:30-5:15. This presentation will be a blend of what we taught the staff and students.

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Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS)

The SSIS-SEL Edition Screening/Progress Monitoring Scales is a strength-based tool for screening and progress monitoring social and emotional competence. Based on what they have observed with your student, teachers are asked to score each student in their Access class in six areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making, and motivation to learn. The teacher’s ratings simply serve as an indicator of overall strengths and areas for growth for social, emotional, and behavioral skills. This screener is neither prescriptive nor evaluative. Click here to see the rating scales that teachers will utilize.

622 out of 667 students were screened through their access classrooms to better understand the social and emotional wellbeing of our students. This data is aggregated and used to provide focus for social emotional learning.

Upcoming SEL integration lessons

Along side their reading for 7th grade ELA students will learn about Integrity and Decision Making. Students will consider how integrity influences the decision making process, the role of questions to make an informed decision, and remaining integrous in the face of peer pressure.

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Hazel Health Training

All mental health staff will be getting trained on the new district wide recourse called the Hazel Health Program and will learn how to refer students the first week of March.

Hazel Health is a new telehealth service in support of student mental and physical health. With family permission, students will be able to connect with a licensed therapist for virtual therapy sessions to help students dealing with depression, anxiety, loneliness, personal relationships, anger, academic stress, motivation, and more.

Student Elective Choices

It's that time again!

The last week of March, rising 7th and 8th graders at Manning will be selecting and entering their top 5 elective choices for the upcoming school year on Infinite Campus during their Access class.

Rising 6th graders and new to Manning rising 7th and 8th graders will receive the elective choice form via email that same week!

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Upcoming NJHS Events

Current NJHS 8th grade students are planning to help with the induction for the 7th grade students.

Students who met the scholarship/academic qualification, a cumulative GPA of 3.65 or above, have been invited to join NJHS. An informational meeting was held on February 2nd that discussed NJHS and the other criteria to be evaluated for membership. The other criteria, 2 teacher recommendations and a one to two page essay are due by Monday, February 27th.

The induction for 7th grade students who qualify for NJHS will be in March before Spring break.

National Junior Honors Society (NJHS)

Students who earn a cumulative GPA of 3.65 by the end of the first semester of 7th grade may apply to the Manning Chapter of National Junior Honor Society. If all criteria are met, those students will participate in the NJHS Induction Ceremony in May of that year.

Students must continue to meet the criteria for NJHS after the Induction Ceremony. Students not meeting the criteria after their Induction will be placed on Academic probation for 9 weeks. If after 9 weeks the criteria have not been reached, students will be removed from NJHS.

Meeting notes, slides and more information can be found at this link on the Manning website.

Community Resources

NEW Jefferson Center Family Service Clinic!

Meet Manning's Mental Health Team!

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Britney Derhak

School Counselor (Last Names A-L)

This is my 8th year as a school counselor, 7 of those years at the middle school level. I graduated with a Masters in Arts in Counseling and Human Services from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2014.

I became a school counselor because of my passion for sports and the influence my coaches had in my life. I wanted to "coach" youth on how to be good students and eventually good people in society.

In my free time I like to spend time with my dog Sawyer and be outside in nature. I also play professional Women's Tackle Football for the Denver Bandits in the Women's National Football Conference.

Jill Shulsinger-Wall

School Counselor (Last Names M-Z)

Hello, my name is Jill Shulsinger-Wall. I have lived in Colorado most of my life and love walking, hiking and biking. I love animals and usually have one or two special needs animals running around my house. I am married and my husband, Steve and I have 3 wonderful daughters.

I started off my career working for the City and County of Denver and then a consultant as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist. I started working in education in the middle of my career as an Assessment Coordinator for Denver Public Schools. Although the Assessment Coordinator job was not the job for me, I discovered that I loved working in education. After DPS, I worked as a tutor in the AVID program in Littleton and knew that school counseling was the path for me. I continued to work in AVID programs at various schools in Englewood and Cherry Creek school while working on my School Counseling degree. For the past 6 years, I have worked as a school counselor in Douglas County at the middle school level.

Kari Gray

(Social Emotional Learning Specialist)

Kari is a Licensed Social Worker (LSW) and the Social Emotional Learning Specialist (SEL) at Manning. While she wears many hats, her primary focus in the SEL role is to support Manning’s healthy climate and culture.

Prior to doing SEL work in Jeffco she graduated from the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver with a Masters in Social Work (MSW), school social work certificate, and a focus on family systems. Additionally, she received her Master’s in Education and taught in Chicago Public Schools; through work in residential settings and schools, she has been involved with people across the lifespan. Middle school is a great match for her passions, education, work history, and quirky personality.

When not at Manning, Kari enjoys bouldering, skiing, hiking, making art, spending time with her dog, friends and family. If you talk with her long enough, eventually she’ll recommend a podcast or 12.

You can follow her on Instagram @sel_by_gray

Mental Health Information

What Do Middle School Counselors Do?

What Counselors can help Parents/guardians with:

Provide information for a variety of social, emotional, career and academic needs.

Support in child’s academic and career planning.

Better understand the social and psychological aspects of child development.

Work with the school to plan their child’s education.

Learn more about school programs.

Become aware of community resources available to them and their children.


What Counselors can help Students with:

Academic and career planning.

Individual Career and Academic Plans (ICAP).

Provide information for a variety of social, emotional, career and academic needs.

Crisis intervention and prevention.

Teach a variety of skills individually and in groups.

Establish and maintain cooperative relationships.


How and Why to Contact a Counselor?

Concerns over student achievement

Family health problems

New school registration and orientation

Test interpretation

Discussing special needs of their child

Early discussion of potential crises

Family difficulties or concerns

Additional things Counselors Do:

Individual Counseling

Small Groups

Career Exploration

Academic Support


Crisis Response

Behavior Intervention

Referrals to Community Resources

Teaching Classroom Lessons such as ICAP

Parent Consultations


Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us. We believe that each student and their families deserve to be treated with the deepest respect and discretion. We will guard your privacy as much as permitted by law.

Limits to confidentiality when:

  • the student poses a danger to self or others
  • there is a court-ordered disclosure
  • consulting with other professionals, such as colleagues, supervisors, treatment teams and other support personnel, in support of the student
  • privileged communication is not granted by state laws and local guidelines (e.g., school board policies)
  • the student participates in group counseling
  • substance use and treatment are concerns

If you have any questions regarding confidentiality, please feel free to contact a team member.

March 21st is National Social Workers Day! Let's celebrate Ms. Kari Gray and Martina Ita and all the amazing things they do for our Manning students, staff and families!