March 17, 2022
Dear Shrewsbury Families, Colleagues, & Community Members,
This morning was the best I've experienced in some time. I had the pleasure of attending the Shrewsbury High School Class of 2022's 50-Day Breakfast, the first of several events leading up to graduation on June 2. The SHS Largess Commons was packed with senior students in their green class t-shirts (it was a happy coincidence that it was St. Patrick's Day!). It was wonderful to see smiles and hear laughter as the students enjoyed eating with their friends and seeing who won raffle prizes. Today filled me with hope for an enjoyable spring for our students, families, and staff as we return to more normalcy.
At the same time, my colleagues and I are very worried about the ongoing mental health crisis we continue to experience. This crisis is affecting young people across our nation, state, and town at levels we have not previously seen. We are seeing an increase in students not feeling safe and putting themselves at risk, and we need your help. Parents and caretakers, please connect with your children to check in on how they are doing, even when they might be reluctant to talk (see tips for starting this kind of conversation here). Knowing that you are there for them as a support and as a listening ear is important to build trust, and so your child can turn to you for help when they need it. In the coming days and weeks ahead, we will continue to communicate information regarding how we can work together help keep our children and teens safe. In the meantime, remember that there are places to turn to for help. Please see the information below for important links and phone numbers you can access for assistance for your child or yourself, and please don't hesitate to reach out to your child's school for help. You can call the school and ask to speak with the school psychologist or adjustment counselor, or you can go to our website, select your child's school from the menu, and click "Mental Health & Wellness Resources" on the left hand side of your school's homepage for email links and phone numbers.
I will communicate again tomorrow with some good news about various student successes. In the meantime, happy St. Patrick's Day to those celebrating today, and a colorful and joyous Holi to all those celebrating tomorrow.
Superintendent of Schools
MENTAL & EMOTIONAL HEALTH RESOURCES
If you are experiencing a medical or mental health emergency, fear for your safety or that of others, please call 911 immediately.
If your concerns are of a less urgent nature, the following mental health crisis resources may be helpful:
Worcester Team: 1-866-549-2142
508-334-3562 - UMass Memorial Hospital
Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services
Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services is Shrewsbury's private, non-profit counseling and social services agency, providing a diverse offering of programs and services that help to strengthen and support youth and families, including counseling. Email: email@example.com Phone: 508-845-6932
Mental Health Resource and Referral Service for Shrewsbury
The William James INTERFACE Referral Service is a mental health resource and referral Helpline available Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm at 888-244-6843. The Helpline is available to Shrewsbury residents and/or public school students in subscribing communities across Massachusetts to access outpatient mental health services. What makes this service unique is that they do not provide merely a list of providers, but rather matched referrals to mental health professionals and practices who best meet the caller’s needs, insurance or fee requirement, specialty request, location, and availability. The Helpline is staffed by mental health professionals, as well as graduate level students from William James College. Additionally, here is a link to a YouTube video about INTERFACE, as well as a flyer in English and Spanish with what to expect when you reach out to INTERFACE.
Handhold (Massachusetts-based website with information on child mental health and emotional well-being for parents & caretakers)
Shrewsbury Public Schools Well-Being Guide