Barrington mental health task force to launch Tuesday

Daily Herald staff report
Updated 8/31/2009 4:52 PM

A new, community-based mental health task force will be introduced publicly at Barrington Unit District 220's board meeting Tuesday night.

The agency, H.E.R.E. in Barrington, began to come together in the late spring after two Barrington High School students committed suicide in rapid succession.


With four suicides having occurred among Barrington High School students in the past two years, community leaders felt they could no longer treat such incidents as isolated.

The agency, whose name stands for "Help, Encouragement, Resources, Education," is made up students, parents, educators, health care professionals and leaders of faith-based organizations.

These members have continued to meet throughout the summer planning a program of activities and events for the coming academic year. They will outline these at Tuesday's 7 p.m. meeting in the guidance resource center of Barrington High School at 616 W. Main St. in Barrington.

Also introduced will be a Web site detailing the group's information and directions to local resources.

District 220 Superintendent Tom Leonard has said there is no easily recognizable common cause behind the four recent suicides. Though created in response to them, the task force intends to address any and all mental health issues young people face. These include drug and alcohol abuse, peer acceptance, pressure for academic and athletic success and other pressures.

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