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District’s new social and emotional health series part of a larger effort to address student wellness

A new social and emotional health series of presentations is part of a concerted effort by McHenry High School District 156 to support students through the journey to adulthood.

District parents, guardians, coaches and other adults who work with children are invited to the free talks, which start Sept. 17 with a program titled “Anxiety: What you should know.” All three sessions will be led by Jackie Rhew, a licensed, professional counselor and founder of the Center for Emotional Wellness.

The social and emotional health series is only part of the new health and prevention activities launched by Maura Reid, District 156’s new prevention and wellness coordinator. Reid, a school social worker for 10 years, now travels between East Campus and West Campus to coordinate social emotional activities.

For example, she’s starting a new program to highlight different topics during school lunch periods. Since September is Depression Awareness Month, students during lunch periods participated in a LifeSaver guessing game, and also got tips about depression and suicide.

Reid also started a monthly newsletter highlighting social emotional topics for students, and that newsletter is sent to families and available on the district website. In addition, school officials have created a new “calm” area at both campuses where students can sit in a relaxing environment during stressful times.

The effort to address social emotional health comes after a successful showing of the movie “Angst” to parents and students last year. Reid said there has been a lot of interest in providing additional support to young people and their families.

“We’ve seen an uptick in students reaching out for support,” Reid said. “We’re here to support the students but we thought we should help the parents as well.”

As for the social emotional health series, all are free and all will be held from 7-8 p.m. in the West Campus auditorium. After the anxiety presentation, the next session is Nov. 5, and is titled “Understanding Adolescents and Young Adults. 

The third presentation is Feb. 11, and is titled “Transitioning to Adulthood.”


social and emotional health series