Children First: 'Say Something' giving mental health support for Dinuba students

Dale Yurong Image
Friday, March 31, 2023
Children First: Mental health support for Dinuba students
Students at Dinuba High are proud of their school and know they have support should they need it.

DINUBA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Students at Dinuba High are proud of their school and know they have support should they need it.

Katelyn Lafont says she's learned coping skills when feeling stressed.

"A lot of the times, I'll like count with my fingers," she said. Like this.

Last fall, the school launched the "Say Something" program. Middle and high school students learn to recognize the warning signs of someone at-risk of hurting themselves or others.

Students who aren't comfortable going to a trusted adult can make an anonymous report online or through their phone.

"When we have a resource like 'Say Something,' it allows for friends to advocate for friends in a way that's discreet, in a way that will give them access to immediate help," says Director of Special Student Services Adriana Baza.

"Say Something" is part of the national Sandy Hook Promise program, founded by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Adam Lanza, who had a history of isolation and mental health issues, killed his mother, 20 children and six school workers before taking his own life.

"Students and school members are always at risk of something like this happening either because the person who has or are doing the active shooting had something going on in their lives and they couldn't express it," says Dinuba High Junior Avril Mendoza.

Dinuba High has a chapter of NAMI, which stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness and school resource officers are on middle and high school campuses.

"At the middle school level, we're kind of their first contact with police," says Dinuba Resource Officer Moises Estrada. "That kind of sets the tone for their future contact with police. We like them to know that we're there to help and we're there to not only enforce laws, but also to be their friend."

Since the rollout of "Say Something," Dinuba has received 28 tips.

Having that resource is really making a difference for our students, because it is saving lives.

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