May 4, 2018
Dear East High School Parents and Community Members,
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our teachers, counselors, staff members, parents, and community members for the incredible levels of support that have been provided for our students and staff members over the course of this week.
As many of you are aware, our community recently experienced a great loss with the death of our sophomore student, Lilly Beck. Since that time, many levels of emotional support have been provided for our students and our staff members who are experiencing sadness and the grieving process. These supports remain available to all who are in need of or have interest in accessing counseling and student services resources.
As we enter into this weekend, I have been reflecting on the fact that the grieving experience, especially in our young people, takes many forms and can take time. Certainly, it is not unusual for days, weeks, or months to progress as a part of this experience.
Understanding this, it is important for us all to continue to check in with our young people in regard to their experience with grief and loss. Continuing to stay open to dialogue and discussion about about what they are thinking and feeling supports the opportunity for grieving to occur and be supported over time.
As a reminder, the following signs may indicate that your child is having difficulty processing grief. With time, these symptoms should decrease.
- Marked changes from usual behavior including decline in school productivity or mood changes
- Changes in sleeping patterns or experiencing eating problems
- Withdrawal or distraction
- Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed, and isolating themselves
- Physical complaints (headache, stomach pain)
- Acting out behavior, including aggression
- Passivity or listlessness
With time, these symptoms should decrease, but, again, it is common for them to return. One suggestion to support the opportunity for grieving is to be proactive and make time to connect. Go to the park as a family, enjoy a movie together, spend time in conversation during dinner, and create other relaxing moments to spend together. Times to connect are healing and provide an opportunity to listen, understand, and support one another in an ongoing and growing way.
Certainly, we also want to remind you that if you, your child, or someone you know needs help with grief, depression or thoughts of suicide it is vital to seek support through school, community, or other professional resources. The list below includes a number of organizations that are available to help:
- Rocky Mountain Crisis Partnership 1-844-493-8255
- Mental Health Center of Denver (MHCD) 303-504-6500
- Second Wind Fund 720-962-0706
- Safe2Tell Colorado 1-877-542-7233
I have also attached several resources with information related to grieving and keeping our students safe. Take a moment to review them, as they are full of reminders and suggestions related to childhood grief and understanding how we can prevent youth suicide.
Know that our school’s administrative team members, counselors, social workers, and school psychologists are available for support and can be contacted at 720.423.8300 or find e-mails and phone numbers for specific school staff at the following link: EastHighStaff
As I have mentioned before, It is the presence of caring friends and community that most effectively support our steps through a healing process. We are grateful for the strength of our school and our community and we continue to stand together in support of every East Angel.
With great appreciation,
DPS Whole Child Resources: Click Here
National Suicide Prevention Website: Click Here