On Tuesday, March 10, eight middle school students attended the Teen Conference held every year at Southwestern Technical College. This year’s theme was Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. Students traveled to four different booths to get information and participate in activities. They added art graffiti with stop bullying messages, they traveled to the “Post Your Secret” booth to deposit their secrets and fears in the drop box, they visited the brain exhibit where they matched symptoms to mental health disorders and learned the facts and myths regarding bullying at another booth.

The students viewed the award winning documentary “Bullied,” a true story that took place in Ashland Wisconsin. The students felt the “Bullied” movie had a big impact. It not only was a true story but it showed how intolerant we can be of the differences in others. The students learned some stress management techniques where the presenter assured the teens that she understood that adolescents are stressed though some adults may not recognize or believe this. The QPR technique was taught to the teens. This is Question, Persuade and Refer when teens feel one of their friends or classmates may be having suicidal thoughts. This presenter really connected with the teens because of the way she relayed the information through her own personal experiences.

The students learned some important things, had fun and were able to make new and old connections with students from other schools.

(Article by Carla Rand)