We know the novel coronavirus has upended life as we know it, but did you know that it has also created a shift in our mental health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 40% of adults reported struggling with mental health or substance disorders just 3 months into the global pandemic. Symptoms related to anxiety and depression were amongst the highest reported. Unfortunately, these symptoms have also been reported in increasing numbers by today’s youth and K12 students.
STOPit Solutions, a safety and technology company partnered with CREA, receives tips or reports such as those stated above through their Anonymous Reporting System. According to STOPit, emergency tips, such as violent or life-threatening incidents, have increased over 120% in K12 accounts during the last 6 months. One of the agents that operate STOPit’s Incident Management Center (IMC), Tracy Craig, shares first-hand knowledge of what these students are going through: “They’re reaching out for a reason. They’re saying, ‘I feel suicidal, I want to hurt myself.’” While the total number of incidents received through the IMC has decreased during the COVID-19 quarantine, escalated incidents or incidents needing to be sent to administrators and/or law enforcement for immediate intervention have more than doubled.
Craig empathizes with each tipster adding: “For us to say, hey, we have this student on the line, and for the [administrator] to message that student right then and there, they feel like, ‘My voice is being heard — I’m important.’”
In case you are not already aware, CREA has partnered with STOPit Solutions to provide this life-saving Anonymous Reporting System to our members at NO COST. The Anonymous Reporting System includes a mobile app students and staff can use to report incidents on behalf of themselves or others. Tips can also be sent via a web-based application or a telephone hotline. No matter how a tip is submitted, all tips will be vetted by real-life people like Craig, 24/7 - 365 days a year.
While school may be virtual or in-person, please remember to share STOPit with your students and staff. You never know when someone may be in crisis. As the winter months and COVID-19 force more people to stay indoors and see less of the people they love, it’s important to remind our community we are there for them, including through an anonymous tip.
For information on how to sign-up or share STOPit’s Anonymous Reporting System with your district, please contact Ed Gurrieri firstname.lastname@example.org