Student Assistance Program Offers Help for Troubled Students

Depression affects 18.8 million people across the United States or 9.3% of people under 18 years old. 80% of people who are depressed are currently not receiving treatment and 15% of depressed people will commit suicide.

For 28 years the Student Assistance Program has been running behind the scenes and helping the troubled students of Tyrone Area School District. Tyrone was one of the original five schools to test this program and in 1990, Act 211 was enacted and required all Pennsylvania schools to establish SAP programs.

SAP is mandated by the state and was created to remove barriers in student learning. The Student Assistance Program website ( states that “SAP helps schools identify students who are experiencing behavior and or academic difficulties that are posing a barrier to their learning and success in school.”

SAP works with several foundations that help to provide counseling to students. Home Nursing Agency, Altoona Regional Health Systems, and Blair Family Services are contracted to provide services to students within the program.

The program is voluntary however a parent or guardian must give written consent for the student to be allowed to participate in the program. If a student is uncomfortable with their parent knowing, Mrs. Johannides stated that “Parents don’t have to know anything that is said in counseling unless you are in danger of hurting yourself or others. “

Anyone can refer a student to the SAP program. If you notice that they are struggling academically or behaviorally you can contact one of the SAP Core Team members in person, via email, or by completing a referral form. Referral forms can be found in the guidance office and also on the district website. The SAP Team members will be listed at the end of the article.

The high school SAP Team members are Rhonda Hocutt, Kourtney Klock, Luke Rhoades, Molly Stroup, Julie Patton, April Campbell, Tiffany Johannides, Suzy Park, Leah Dobrowolsky, and Todd Cammarata.