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Mood Check

What is the Mood Check program?

Mood Check is a depression prevention initiative supported by the Holliston Public Schools and directed by Tracy Gladstone, a licensed clinical psychologist from the Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College. Holliston schools have been collaborating with clinicians at Wellesley College for three years to increase conversations about depression and to promote teens’ mental health. The Mood Check program is a comprehensive depression screening program that serves Holliston students in grades 7, 9, and 11 and their families by: (1) providing education about the problem of youth depression; (2) identifying and referring adolescents in need of mental health services; and (3) providing follow-up with students’ parents/guardians. As part of this initiative, teens in the identified grade will complete a brief, self-report depression form. If there are any concerns about a teen based on their responses to this form, staff from Wellesley Centers for Women will call the parent/guardian directly to discuss these concerns. If a parent/guardian does not hear from staff, a parent/guardian will know that, based on a child’s responses to the form, staff do not believe a child is experiencing concerning depressive symptoms at the present time.

Why participate in the Mood Check program?

Holliston Public Schools believes the Mood Check initiative is important because depression is a significant concern among adolescents. Approximately one in every four to five children suffers from a mental health disorder that will result in severe impairment, and about 10.8% of adolescents experience significant depressive symptoms at any given time. The National Institute of Mental Health defines depression as a common but serious mood disorder that influences the way a person feels, thinks, and handles daily activities. Some of the symptoms of depression include persistent sadness or irritability, loss of interest in activities, fatigue/low energy, changes in appetite/sleep, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide. While all of us sometimes experience these and other depressive symptoms, we worry when several symptoms occur at the same time and persist over a period of at least two weeks.

What else should I know to support my adolescent student?

Because youth depression is so common, Wellesley Centers for Women has shared some general information, including links for additional information about depression below. Additionally, Wellesley Centers for Women provided phone numbers including the Interface Referral Network.

Resources:

  • Contact the Interface Referral Network (888-244-6843, Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm) for assistance in connecting with mental health resources in the community.
  • For immediate concerns about your child’s health and/or safety, contact the Advocates Emergency Service crisis line (800-640-5432), which is available 24-hours a day, or call 911 and go to your nearest emergency room.
  • Signs of Suicide (SOS) parent portal: https://sossignsofsuicide.org/parent
  • Parent Talk: an informational resource for parents. https://fampod.org/. You will have to create an account. Once you’ve done so, you can explore the website. Click on Parent Talk Resource, under Quick Launch. On the left side is a Navigation dialogue box. Within that, click on Courses, and then Parent Talk.
  • https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
  • http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Depression_Resource_Center/Home.aspx
  • www.familyaware.org

Who should I contact if I have questions regarding Mood Check?

Please feel free to reach out to:

Dr. Tracy R. G. Gladstone
Associate Director & Senior Research Scientist, Wellesley Centers for Women
Director, The Robert S. and Grace W. Stone Primary Prevention Initiatives
http://www.wcwonline.org
tgladsto@wellesley.edu Phone: 781-283-2558 Fax: 781-283-3646
Wellesley College 106 Central Street Wellesley, MA 02481-8203

Meg Camire
Director of Student Services
Holliston Public Schools
camirem@holliston.k12.ma.us
508-429-0661

References:

  • Aalto-Setala, T., Marttunen, M., Tuulio-Henriksson, A., Poikolainen, K. ,& Lonnqvist, J. (2001). One-month prevalence of depression and other DSM-IV disorders among young adults. Psychological Medicine, 31(05), 791-801.
  • Merikangas, K. R., He, J. P., Burstein, M., Swanson, S. A., Avenevoli, S., Cui, L., ... & Swendsen, J. (2010). Lifetime prevalence of mental disorders in US adolescents: results from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication–Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 49(10), 980-989.
  • Perou, R., Bitsko, R. H., Blumberg, S. J., Pastor, P., Ghandour, R. M., Gfroerer, J. C., ... & Parks, S. E. (2013). 
  • Mental health surveillance among children—United States, 2005–2011. MMWR Surveill Summ, 62(Suppl 2), 1-35.