Our Process

TeenHope is a teen mental health program that screens for depression and suicide risk of students in Lancaster County middle and high schools. The program’s goal is to identify at-risk students who are flying below the radar before a crisis situation occurs.

If a student is 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.

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 primarily 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.

Education

All students participating in the screening will hear a presentation regarding the importance of mental health as well as the signs and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. This presentation is educational and refers to recent statistics regarding teen mental health.

Completing the Screening

Students are screened in small groups so a TeenHope employee can review informed consent and give instructions for students to complete the screening. Students fill out the forms on their own and hand them in once completed.

Meet with a Staff Member

Regardless of a student’s level of risk indicated on the form, students will meet with a clinically licensed professional or a pre-licensed professional currently supervised by a clinically licensed professional. In this meeting staff member will go over their screening responses and review the support available to them in the resource guide which includes accessing local services, how to reference their insurance card, and financial aid available to them.

Connect with Resources

If a student is identified as at-risk, TeenHope collaborates with parents, school personnel, and students to recommend vital resources.

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.

At the end of each school year, we publish our consolidated findings. Read the 2022 – 2023 Annual Report here.

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:

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 

Contact Us

If you are a decision-maker within a school or other student-focused program and would like to learn more about what TeenHope could look like, fill out the form below and we will be in touch.

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