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Dawson student works with veterans to launch teen mental health program


December 4, 2019 | View PDF

Courtesy Photo

Dawson senior Spencer Sampliner developed a teen mental health program after working with veterans.

During a recent summer job, Dawson senior Spencer Sampliner encountered and was moved by the stories of veterans and mental health issues brought on by high-stress battle situations. He then made an important connection: Extensive research has been conducted on how best to treat the troubling symptoms created by extreme stress, anxiety, and depression -- the very same symptoms which lie at the heart of the current teenage mental health crisis.

Courtesy Photo

Spencer Sampliner

Sampliner also recognized that, in the same way the veterans' stories had an impact on him, that this might be an avenue to open up conversations about mental health with his peers and other teens. These veteran speakers, with their compelling life stories and experience, can command the attention of teens in a way others might not, and lead them to invest in self care.

He applied for a Wolf Scholarship grant available to Dawson students and used the funds to develop a program that is rolling out at Dawson School and other schools in the region. Veterans and other community leaders such as emergency first responders have presented to Dawson students and families, and now Sampliner is successfully scaling this program to other schools in the region, such as St. Elizabeth's in Denver, Watershed School in Boulder, and Vail Mountain School.

Learn more at http://www.forcesforgoodnow.com.


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