Wilcox Central High School Implement New Student Prevention and Support: Peer Helpers Program
We are excited to announce our school’s launch of the Peer Helpers Program, a student prevention and support program like none before. This comes at a crucial time for the mental and physical health of our young people. In addition to the previously existing challenges students face, they now have the added effects of social isolation, potential sickness, widespread death, parent job loss, and strained academic performance. They are in need of support now more than ever.
The Peer Helpers Program aligns with the school-based mental health model. The program works using both educators and students to build a positive school climate and culture. Peer Helpers is a multi-tiered prevention and support program comprised of 3 components to help our students build resiliency skills, increase awareness about at-risk behaviors, and create a reliable support system.
The first component of our program includes educator-led prevention lessons. This schoolwide program component is titled PATH – Prevention & Awareness for Total Health. These lessons address many of our students' most challenging issues including the 4 topics of abuse, bullying, substances, and suicide in grade-level specific curriculum.
Studies show that youth seek a peer first when they are struggling. Layering the PATH prevention curriculum with students who are trained in communication and referral skills brings to life the second component of the program, the student Peer Helpers. Once trained, Peer Helpers support other students as a tutor, mentor, or confidant. Students feel a connection to other students, making them an excellent resource for our community building. The work of Peer Helpers will lead to data that guides administration and school leadership in their professional decisions with greater awareness of our students’ most pressing concerns.
We look forward to continuing the support of our students through the Peer Helpers Program. We realize that making their mental and physical health a priority will enhance their academic and personal success. As their success is truly our most fundamental objective, we will continue to make decisions to that end.