• Mental Health in Adolescence

    High school is a time when many teenagers are becoming more independent and trying to discover their values and identity. Physical and emotional changes, along with significant stressors during this time, can lead to struggles with mental health. A CDC study has shown that since 2009, teenagers have reported a sharp increase in depressive feelings and more thoughts of suicide. The recent Covid pandemic and social unrest has led to a sharp increase in anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns.  At AC Flora, we recognize that students’ social and emotional needs must be addressed, not just academics.

    Staff, guardians, and students work together to address mental health issues as soon as they are beginning to occur. When students are struggling with mental health, they may struggle with learning and academics. They may make poor choices or experiment with alcohol, drugs and risky behaviors.  It is essential that staff, guardians, and students work together to address mental health issues as soon as they are beginning to occur.

    School Resources

    Each student is assigned a counselor who able to listen and offer support, and can intervene in a crisis situation during school hours. Counselors can also help refer students for mental health counseling services as needed. In addition to the school counselors, AC Flora has a full-time school social worker, a school psychologist, and a school-based therapist from Columbia Area Mental Health to meet with students and guardians as needed. Administrators, teachers, and other staff also strive to make positive connections with students and are available to talk with students as needed and direct them to the right support staff on campus.

    Students can also access more resources and information through their School Counseling Schoology pages.

    Please note that school staff is not available for crisis services outside of school hours. Please refer to the resources below for community resources.

    Guardian’s Role

    To help support healthy emotional growth in teenagers, guardians are encouraged to do the following:

    • Check in with your child regularly about their mental health. Don’t be afraid to ask hard questions about feelings and thoughts of self-harm.
    • Supervise your child to make sure they are making healthy choices and choosing positive peers.
    • Check their social media accounts regularly for any cyber bullying or concerning posts.
    • Keep in communication with your child’s school counselor or administrator about any concerns you have or changes you see in your student.

    Community Resources

    If a child is experiencing a mental health crisis or has reported thoughts of hurting themselves or others, please contact emergency services immediately by calling 9-1-1 or by taking the child to an emergency department at a hospital.

    Many counseling services are available in the Midlands and accept self-pay and insurance payments. If you need help finding a provider, you may first want to contact your child’s pediatrician or insurance company for a referral. Our support staff also maintains a list of community providers and may be able to help as well.

    These providers specialize in mental health services locally and nationally and can help you determine appropriate services for individuals:

    • Columbia Area Mental Health Center (Adolescents and Families Division)- 803-898-4777
    • NAMI South Carolina- 803-788-5131
    • Federation of Families- 803-772-5210
    • SAMHSA’s National Hotline: 1-800-662-4357

    Help is available 24 hours a day from these hotlines:

    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (English and Spanish)- 1-800-273-8255
    • Crisis Textline- Text HOME to 741741
    • National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline- 1-800-799-SAFE

    Online Resources

    These reputable websites provide additional information to help families understand adolescent mental health.