Not ready to talk? New e-resource gives Osceola students mental health support

Mental health can be difficult to talk about, especially for teenagers.

That’s why the Osceola School District is now offering a set of eBooks to support students who are battling mental health issues like anxiety, depression and self-injury.

The eBooks are part of what’s known as Cameron’s Collection and cover topics like stress, depression, bullying, anxiety, suicide, anorexia and more. Students and parents can privately access content related to sensitive issues from school or home, with clear instructions on how to find professional help.

Giving parents and students the tools to learn at their own pace in their own space was important to the school district, said Michelle Jarrett of the media and instructional technology department.

“Teenagers aren’t always the first to go straight to an adult when something is going on, but we do know they want information,” Jarrett said.

Schools are spreading the word about Cameron’s Collection eBooks, part of the larger Gale company resource library, with signs and posters in bathrooms, lockers and hallways.

Many signs say, “Not ready to talk about it?” with a QR code that directs teens directly to the portal page.

“If you’re sitting in a bathroom stall and something is going on and you see a poster like that, it can be the first step in addressing a mental health issue,” Jarrett said. “It’s a way to feel less alone and still get good, credible information.”

The collection is accessible online from the district’s middle and high schools’ library web pages. School staff can also access the books to learn better ways to assist students struggling with mental health issues.

Cameron’s Collection rolled out in April in preparation for Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

The set of 40 eBook was purchased by the district as a package, but the district can purchase additional ones depending on which titles prove popular, Jarrett said.

Cameron’s Collection was created in honor of Cameron Gallagher, a young girl battling depression and anxiety whose dream was to raise awareness and help erase the stigma surrounding mental health. At the age of 16, she suddenly passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition. Gale, in collaboration with the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, created Cameron’s Collection to ensure schools are equipped with educational resources to help struggling teens.

Osceola County students, parents and school staff can access Cameron’s Collection on any device through Classlink at launchpad.classlink.com/Osceola.

Classlink can also be found on the school district’s homepage and on each school’s website.

 For questions or more information, contact Jarrett at 407-870-4669.