Teen Mental Health Facts  |  Resources  |  Participating Schools  |  Testimonials & Stories | How does program consent work?

TeenHope is a mental health program that screens teens for depression and suicide risk in Lancaster County middle and high schools. The program’s goal is to identify at-risk students before a crisis situation occurs.

After students are identified as at-risk, TeenHope collaborates with parents and teenagers to connect them with mental health organizations in the area for appropriate interventions as needed.

The program is currently in 13 local schools and has identified that about 26% of all students were depressed, anxious, or at-risk for suicide.

But there is hope! Many studies have shown the effectiveness of early intervention in mental health and the role it plays in recovery.

The TeenHope mental health program is almost 100% donor-funded. With the help of our community, more kids in Lancaster County schools who are at-risk for suicide continue to be identified and receive the help they desperately need.

For more information about the TeenHope program, please contact Valerie Minnich, Director of TeenHope, at vminnich@scclanc.org or 717-560-9969, extension 268.

How the TeenHope Program Works from Natural Light Films on Vimeo.

100%TeenHope mental health program is almost 100% donor-funded
26%of all students were depressed, anxious or at-risk for suicide

Teen Mental Health Facts

According to the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey, 38.5% of teens in Lancaster County say they’ve felt depressed or sad most days over the past year.

Even more heartbreaking is that 17.8% of teenagers considered suicide and 10.1% attempted suicide. That means about 1,100 teenagers that were surveyed in Lancaster County have attempted suicide.

Through TeenHope, we’ve encountered similar numbers. Our mental health screenings since 2013 have identified that about 26% of all students were depressed, anxious or at-risk for suicide.

But there is hope!

Many studies have shown the effectiveness of early intervention in mental health and the role it plays in recovery. The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that individuals who went through programs were more responsive to treatment and more likely to achieve social, educational and career success.

38.5%of teens say they’ve felt depressed or sad on most days
10.1%of teens in Lancaster County have attempted suicide


Take a look at the mental health screening TeenHope uses in middle and high schools, as well as the resources provided to at-risk teenagers and their parents.

Need help now?

If you’re uncomfortable talking about depression, anxiety or thoughts of suicide with family or friends, call 1-800-273-TALK to speak in confidence with someone who can understand and help you deal with your feelings. Or you can use the crisis call or text line 988.

You can also set up an appointment with a professional counselor. The local organizations we recommend are:

Participating Schools

  • Conestoga Valley
  • Donegal
  • Eastern Lebanon
  • Ephrata
  • Elizabethtown
  • Lampeter Strasburg
  • Lancaster Country Day
  • Lancaster Mennonite
  • Manheim Township
  • Penn Manor
  • Pequea Valley
  • Solanco
  • Warwick

Testimonials & Stories

“TeenHope has been very helpful for us as counselors and administrators as we relate with students. The screenings have allowed us to have more open dialogue about mental health and we have valued the TeenHope program which has made such a positive impact on our entire school community.”

Kirk Benner, Director of School Counseling at Lancaster Mennonite School

While meeting with our staff, a student reported that she had a plan to end her life.  This student was reluctant to verbally share what her plan was, however, she felt comfortable enough to be honest, which ultimately led to our staff connecting her with guidance at her school, reaching out to her parents, and helping to get her into therapy immediately.  She had never confided in anyone with what she was dealing with, and because of the TeenHope screening, she found the courage to be honest and share that she was struggling, no longer having to manage these thoughts on her own.

TeenHope Staff 

A student scheduled her first counseling appointment as a result of her TeenHope screening. Her mother was very concerned that the screening revealed her daughter was cutting, feeling depressed and had thoughts of suicide. Her grades had been slipping and she was struggling with finding a positive peer group at school. She attended counseling sessions over the course of two years and learned to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression while also learning to identify healthy relationships and address blended family issues. As a result, her grades not only improved, but she enrolled in honor level courses and began excelling in art classes. At the end of counseling she was able to identify and apply strategies of resiliency.

TeenHope Staff 

The following is a statement from our legal counsel regarding parental consent and the TeenHope program.

TeenHope is a program of the Samaritan Counseling Center, an independent not-for-profit organization.

Samaritan Counseling Center is not a local educational agency (“LEA”) and is not a direct recipient of any federal or state funding. As such, Samaritan Counseling Center is not subject to the requirements of the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA).  TeenHope programming is fully funded by Samaritan Counseling Center through donations from private individuals and foundations with an interest in its mission.

An LEA’s first year of the TeenHope program is entirely funded by the Samaritan Counseling Center and the TeenHope program.  Therefore, TeenHope operates as a passive consent program and does not provide prior notice and an opportunity to opt-out pursuant to the PPRA or any similar statute or regulation.

LEA participation in TeenHope programming for subsequent years may be partially funded by the LEA through district/community resources.  However, in some instances, a funder will choose to donate to TeenHope on behalf of a particular LEA and fund the program completely.  In those cases, Samaritan Counseling Center stewards those funds and continues to fully fund the LEA for programming while designated funding remains available.

Should you have questions regarding consent requirements for programming that is not fully funded by Samaritan Counseling Center, you should seek additional guidance regarding notice and consent requirements applicable to your institution.


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