More than 100 attend Cheshire forum on school mental health programs

More than 100 attend Cheshire forum on school mental health programs

reporter photo

CHESHIRE — Officials outlined how the schools respond to mental health issues during a meeting at Doolittle School Wednesday night.

The presentation follows the death of a Doolittle student in December.

More than 100 people attended the meeting at Doolittle.

Anjelita Estrada, 11, attended Doolittle School. The state chief medical examiner’s office ruled her death in late December a suicide.

Her father, Anthony Estrada, who lives in Tuscon, Arizona, has cited bullying as a factor in her death.

Doolittle Principal Russ Hinckley told parents at the beginning of the meeting that they could contact school administrators with questions or concerns.

Questions were not taken at the meeting.

“We really have to honor the seriousness of the situation; we have to honor the right to everyone’s privacy,” Hinckley said.

“We’re not going to be able to address specifics tonight.”

The forum was for general information and resources and not particulars on Estrada’s death, he added.

School officials gave presentations on a host of approaches and methods for helping children understand and cope with their emotions.

Education leaders also explained some of the training teachers and others in the school have to identify students with suicidal thoughts.

Michelle Piccerillo, Youth and Social Services director, also outlined the warning signs for depression and suicide.

Hinckley also explained the state definition of bullying and said that a 2011 law instituted reporting and other requirements for schools to follow.

After the meeting, several parents said they were pleased with the information presented.

“I think it was better to address the global issue” than specifics, said Angela Delisle, parent of a fifth-grader at the school.

She said some of the behavior and mental health supports the school has are “wonderful” and have helped her family.

School officials said that there will be a mental health awareness program for the elementary grades starting next year as well as a suicide prevention program at Cheshire High School.

Earlier this week, School Superintendent Jeff Solan said the school system is planning a similar forum for all members of the community.


Twitter: @reporterjbuchanan


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