The Burbank Unified School District will host a forum on mental health on May 31 to address rising concerns of students and parents.
The forum will take place at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium at the Burbank Adult School, at 3811 W. Allan Ave., where Supt. Matt Hill and an expert panel will discuss the pressures and mental health issues affecting students.
The topic of mental health has been an area of concern as of late, as residents brought up the topic during a school board meeting last Thursday.
Several people told board members something needs to be done to address bullying in schools and provide students with resources if they are experiencing anxiety, stress or thoughts of suicide.
Students and parents have been talking about suicide recently after an apparent suicide of a John Burroughs High School student this month.
Louie Kahn, the student body president at Burroughs High, told board members during the meeting his peers have told him they feel their school’s mental health center and school district are not adequately addressing mental health and suicide.
“I know that the mental health center is unique to the school, but if it’s not functioning the way it’s supposed to, then there’s really no point of having it,” Kahn said.
Kahn added that his peers have told him it’s been difficult for them to make appointments with the mental health center when they are in times of need.
In order to address some of these concerns, Kahn said he and his colleagues on the student body are looking to start a student-driven lunchtime forum called Real Talk, in which students can openly discuss how they can better their campus.
Hill said he was unaware of the concerns regarding John Burroughs’ mental health center and that the district would look into the matter.
Hill added that he wanted to look into Real Talk, which he said could be beneficial to students. However, he cautioned that experts and professionals in the mental health field should be present should students need their help.
Kahn said the topics of suicide and mental health cannot go into the summer unaddressed and that some kind of dialogue needs to occur in order to provide closure to students who were affected by the apparent suicide.
In addition to the mental health forum on Thursday, the John Burroughs Vocal Music Assn. will host a free benefit concert at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the school’s auditorium to support the nonprofit Teen Line, which provides help to teens with any issue.
“We encourage all parents to attend the forum to learn more about the resources we have available for parents and students,” Supt Hill said in a statement. “We will also have a panel that will be able to answer questions that parents have about supporting their children.”