W. Jordan, UT: Middle school gets sensory room for kids with depression/suicidal thoughts

April 11, 2018, Sandy, UT, West Jordan Journal: Mindful of mental health Like an island in the middle of the school, the “Green Room” provides students with calming music, dimmed lighting, a comfortable couch and sometimes a much-needed nap. “No other school has a green room—a room that is completely different than any other place in the building, where kids can completely get out of the stream—the noise, crowd and commotion, and enter a sanctuary,” said Olin Levitt. That’s because no other school has Levitt, who was recently recognized as Utah’s School Psychologist of the Year. Levitt helps students to develop better social and communication skills, how to work through problems and to be more resilient. … Daily morning announcements at West Jordan Middle School include a “mindful moment” in which Levitt guides the whole school—students and faculty—through breathing, meditation and relaxation techniques. Principal Dixie Garrison believes this is helpful for students who may be coming from a stressful home environment where many deal with trauma…. Levitt also invites students to participate in weekly support groups that address family issues, stress, anger, anxiety and depression. He believes it helps kids to know they are not alone in their struggles and that it’s OK to talk about them. He said research shows 10 percent of middle school students experience suicidal thoughts. “That means on any given day, I’ve got about 85 kids in the building that are having thoughts like that,” he said. … “If a kid’s depressed, suicidal, cutting, hanging by a thread, these teachers are not going say no, not here at this school,” he said….