‘It’s Ok to Not Be Ok:’ How One High School Saved Lives with a 34-Question Survey
June 5, 2019
By: Ann Schimke
It was 10:30 a.m. on a Monday in April. Nine counselors, psychologists, and therapists sat around a table in a conference room at Cañon City High School in southern Colorado.
In classrooms around the building, the school’s ninth-graders whizzed through an online mental health survey that would soon deliver real-time data to the group in the conference room. They were a triage team of sorts — particularly interested in the answers to question 24, which asked how often students had had thoughts of hurting themselves within the past week.
By 10:35 a.m., most of the results were in. Over the next few hours, team members pulled students who had responded “very often” or “often” out of class for private one-on-one conversations.
The overarching message to students, said Jamie Murray, a district psychologist who helped coordinate the effort, was “It’s OK to not be OK.”