EPHRATA, Pa. (WHTM) – After last week’s shootings at a Florida school, exams offered in the Ephrata Area School District are getting more attention.
Through a program with a local counseling service, the schools offer free mental health exams to freshman.
“Awareness of mental health status of our children is huge right now,” superintendent Dr. Brian Troop said. “The pressures that society puts on kids is greater than we have ever seen before, especially at that age.”
Troop said the screenings are optional. Counselors look for students showing signs of depression, anxiety, or who may have suicidal thoughts.
The findings are given to parents, who do not have to share the results with the school.
“In order for students to be successful, they need to make sure all parts of their life are together,” said Steve Habowski, a high school counselor. “Mental health is one of those areas.”
Troop said more than 90 percent of students have chosen to take the exam.
“It’s not easy being a teenager at this point in our country’s history,” he said. “Any support we can give families that are trying to support their kids through it, we think, is our responsibility.”