South Orangetown Central School District

We all need help sometimes. But stigma prevents people from getting the help they need, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.

To make it easier for students to get help, South Orangetown Middle School Health Education teacher Vickie Shaw and Library Media Specialist Kimberlee Landgraff developed the annual, districtwide “Help Card” campaign. Help Cards and how-to videos are customized for each school to encourage students to reach out and identify key staff members to contact.

“The Help Card is a tool we use to support our ongoing efforts to address the social-emotional needs of our students. Our goal with SEL is to assist our students with developIng self-awareness about their emotions and self-advocacy skills so that they know how to reach out when they need help,” said Executive Director of Pupil Personnel Services Karen Tesik, Ed.D. “Students learn the language to communicate what they’re feeling and strategies to manage those feelings, including seeking support from friends and trusted adults. The Help Card has contact information for the support staff at each school and for community resources which are available 24/7.”

This year, schools are distributing cards and screening videos in classes on two dates: October 1 for Group B and October 5 for Group A. Families are encouraged to view the Help Card video together and to reinforce two key messages: 1) it’s OK to ask for help, and 2) there is always someone who will listen.

William O. Schaefer Elementary School video:

Cottage Lane Elementary School video:

South Orangetown Middle School video:

Tappan Zee High School video:

Video links are also posted under “Student Resources” section of the For Students page on each school website. Students who lose their Help Cards may pick up a new card in their school main office or, for middle and high school students, in the counseling office.

Help Card