This week the Wakefield Public Schools and Wakefield Student Support Team Kick off National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week. This is an opportunity for all members of our community to become more informed about the impact of Mental Health on our lives and the lives of our children. Please take an opportunity to speak with a teacher, counselor, or administrator to learn something new about how your school is helping to raise awareness this week!
Effective Strategies for Students with Anxiety, Presented by Jessica Minahan, M.Ed. BCBA. Hosted by Wakefield SEPAC
We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Minahan to our community to talk about strategies that help students cope with anxiety. “The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that one in four thirteeneighteen year olds has had an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Without intervention, these children are at risk for poor performance, diminished learning, and social/behavior problems in school. Understanding the role anxiety plays in a student’s behavior is crucial and using preventive strategies are key to successful intervention.”
When: Wednesday, April 13, 2016, 7pm
Where: Galvin Middle School, Learning Common, 525 Main Street, Wakefield, MA 01880
Jessica Minahan is a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), author and special educator. She has worked with students who exhibit challenging behavior both at home and in school. She specializes in training staff and creating behavior intervention plans for students who demonstrate explosive and unsafe behavior. She also works with students who have emotional and behavioral disabilities, anxiety disorders, or high-functioning Autism. Jessica is currently an adjunct professor at Boston University, as well as an independent consultant to schools nationwide.She holds a BS in Intensive Special Education from Boston University and a dual master’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Wheelock College. She has a certificate of graduate study (CGS) in teaching children with Autism from the University of Albany and received her BCBA training from Northeastern University in Boston. She is sought-after internationally to speak on subjects ranging from effective interventions for students with anxiety to supporting hard-to-reach students in full-inclusion public school settings.
Date: Monday, March 21, 2016
Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Location: Wakefield Memorial High School, 60 Farm St., Wakefield
Sponsors: Wakefield High School and the National Alliance on Mental Illness
Open to the public, no admission charge
On Monday, March 21st, Wakefield Memorial High School and NAMI will host a panel discussion on student mental health as they transition to college. The panel will include speakers such as: Nicole McMahon (Certified Peer Specialist, McLean Hospital); Courtney Joly-Laudermilk (Center for Psychiatric Rehab, Boston University); Charles Morse (Assistant Dean, Worcester Polytechnic Inst.); and Susan Woods (Associate Dean of Student Support Services, Middlesex Community College).
Focus Questions for the Panel Discussion will include:
Teen Depression Through 3 Lenses: Young Adult, Parent, Clinician
A Free Webinar for Teens, Parents, School Counselors and Staff, Youth Workers, and Anyone Interested in Teen Mental Health
Tuesday, March 1st, 2016
7 PM ET / 4 PM PT
Register at www.familyaware.org/trainings
Families for Depression Awareness is presenting a free, 1-hour, 15-minute Teen Depression webinar on Tuesday, March 1st at 7:00 PM ET / 4:00 PM PT. The program is designed for teens, parents, teachers, school counselors and staff, youth workers, and anyone interested in teen mental health.
Join us for a live webcast discussion with an expert in teen depression, a young adult who has struggled with depression, and his mother who has both supported him and survived the loss of another son to suicide.
During the webinar, you'll hear - and be able to ask questions - about how to
Can't attend the live webcast? Register today and watch the recorded webinar later at your convenience.
Register at www.familyaware.org/trainings.
Please share information about the free webinar with your network!
Text for full article taken from here (click to access original text).
As all the kids line up to go to school, your son, Timmy, turns to you and says, “I don’t want to take the bus. My stomach hurts. Please don’t make me go.” You cringe and think, Here we go again. What should be a simple morning routine explodes into a daunting challenge.
You look at Timmy and see genuine terror. You want to comfort him. You want to ease the excessive worry that’s become part and parcel of his everyday life. First, you try logic. “Timmy, we walk an extra four blocks to catch this bus because this driver has an accident-free driving record!” He doesn’t budge.
You provide reassurance. “I promise you’ll be OK. Timmy, look at me… you trust me, right?” Timmy nods. A few seconds later he whispers, “Please don’t make me go.”
You resort to anger: “Timothy Christopher, you will get on this bus RIGHT NOW, or there will be serious consequences. No iPad for one week!” He looks at you as if you’re making him walk the plank. He climbs onto the bus, defeated. You feel terrible.
If any of this sounds familiar, know you are not alone. Most parents would move mountains to ease their child’s pain. Parents of kids with anxiety would move planets and stars as well. It hurts to watch your child worry over situations that, frankly, don’t seem that scary. Here’s the thing: To your child’s mind, these situations are genuinely threatening. And even perceived threats can create a real nervous system response. We call this response anxiety and I know it well.
I’d spent the better part of my childhood covering up a persistent, overwhelming feeling of worry until, finally, in my early twenties, I decided to seek out a solution. What I’ve learned over the last two decades is that many people suffer from debilitating worry. In fact, 40 million American adults, as well as 1 in 8 children, suffer from anxiety. Many kids miss school, social activities and a good night’s rest just from the worried thoughts in their head. Many parents suffer from frustration and a feeling of helplessness when they witness their child in this state day in, day out.
What I also learned is that while there is no one-size-fits-all solution for anxiety, there are a plethora of great research-based techniques that can help manage it — many of which are simple to learn. WAIT! Why didn’t my parents know about this? Why didn’t I know about it? Why don’t they teach these skills in school?
I wish I could go back in time and teach the younger version of myself how to cope, but of course, that’s not possible. What is possible is to try to reach as many kids and parents as possible with these coping skills. What is possible is to teach kids how to go beyond just surviving to really finding meaning, purpose and happiness in their lives. To this end, I created an anxiety relief program for kids called GoZen! Here are 9 ideas straight from that program that parents of anxious children can try right away:
Full text can also be accessed clicking here
The Yellow Dress is shown annually to the junior class of the Wakefield Memorial High School. This performance is made possible by The Wakefield Alliance Against Violence (WAAV) in partnership with the Wakefield Police Department, Wakefield Rotary Club, Wake-UP, Beebe Library, and the Wakefield Memorial High School Athletics Program. Since 1995 more than half a million young people and adults have witnessed the power of The Yellow Dress through Deana’s Educational Theater. This year, a second presentation intended for the parents of all high school students is taking place on October 28, 2015 from 7:00 p.m. - 8 p.m. at The Savings Bank Performing Arts Center located at the High School
The Yellow Dress is a powerful and dramatic performance where the audience is introduced to Anna, a senior in high school on the night of her prom. While deciding what to wear to prom, Anna reflects on her relationship with her boyfriend Rick. The audience is lead through the seemingly innocent budding of young love which evolves into a jealous, controlling, and physically abusive relationship. Anna becomes isolated from her family and friends while caught in this cycle of violence with Rick. Anna Eventually realizes she needs help, but is too afraid to accept it. By the end of the performance Anna builds up the courage to break up with Rick, but not before a shocking twist no one in the audience will see coming.
Statewide, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men have experienced some form of domestic violence. An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. In September Alone the Wakefield Police Department has responded to 24 domestic disturbances, had 25 calls for service regarding domestic issues and concerns, and 3 arrests were made for domestic assault and battery. According to the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 6.1% of WHS students reported that they had been hurt physically or sexually by a date or someone they were going out with and 8% of WHS students reported that someone had sexual contact with them against their will.
Although this presentation is primarily for parents of high school students, parents of all school-age children are invited to attend. It is our hope that by parents viewing The Yellow Dress, it will help raise awareness of the very real problem of teen dating violence, domestic violence, and allow parents to start a dialogue with their sons and daughters regarding these issues. Witnessing violence between one’s parents is one of the strongest risk factors associated with violent behavior in the next generation. With everyone’s help, we can work to stop the root causes of relationship violence, and assist those whose lives are already affected by this very serious problem. Do you know someone who needs help? Contact RESPOND inc. 24/7 at 617-623-5900.
DanversCARES is sponsoring an evening for parents and community on Tuesday, October 27 at 7:00 pm at Danvers High School Auditorium with Dr. Robert Brooks. No registration is required for this free community program. Dr. Brooks will speak on raising resilient children k-12 and how we as adults can foster conncectedness and youth’s amazing ability to thrive in the face of many of today’s challenges. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Link to DanversCARES full program description: http://danverscares.org/raising-resilient-children-k-12/
(Article taken from NPR - By Lynne Shallcross)
Children of anxious parents are more at risk of developing an anxiety disorder. But there's welcome news for those anxious parents: that trajectory toward anxiety isn't set in stone.
Therapy and a change in parenting styles might be able to prevent kids from developing anxiety disorders, according to research published in The American Journal of Psychiatry Friday.
The researchers, led by psychiatry professor Golda Ginsburg, a professor of psychiatry at UConn Health in Farmington, Conn., looked at 136 families. Each family had at least one parent who had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and at least one child in the 6-to-13 age range who had not yet been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
Roughly half the families received eight weekly sessions of family therapy, while the other half received only a 30-page handout describing anxiety disorders, without specific strategies for reducing anxiety.
After one year, only 5 percent of children from the families who received the family-based therapy had been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Among families who received just the handout, that number jumped to 31 percent.
"The basic question was, because we know that anxiety runs in families, could we prevent children from developing an anxiety disorder whose parents had the illness?" says Ginsburg, who conducted the study with colleagues from Johns Hopkins University. The answer was yes, at least over a year.
The researchers will now continue to study these same families, thanks to funding from the National Institute of Mental Health. They will look at whether the children of the families who received the therapeutic intervention go on to develop an anxiety disorder later on in adolescence or early adulthood.
The message from the study's findings so far, Ginsburg says, is that the focus needs to shift from reaction to prevention. "In the medical system there are other prevention models, like dental care, where we go every six months for a cleaning. I think adopting that kind of model — a mental health checkup, a prevention model for folks who are at risk — is I think where we need to go next."
All humans feel anxiety. It's normal, and in many cases, it's a good thing — it makes us run when we see that bear coming toward us or study for that tough exam that's coming up tomorrow.
But in people with an anxiety disorder, that dose of healthy anxiety goes awry. People might feel levels of anxiety that are out of proportion to the situation or feel anxiety in a situation where there is simply no threat. Ginsburg likens it to an "alarm clock going off at the wrong time."
In children, excessive anxiety can come in a variety of ways. Some might struggle with separation anxiety, where they're afraid to go anywhere without their parents.
Others might struggle with social anxiety, afraid of anything from raising their hand in class to eating in front of others in the school cafeteria. Still others struggle with overwhelming worry. They might think, "If I fail this test, I'll fail this grade, fail out of high school, never go to college, never get a job and become homeless."
Whatever the form that the anxiety takes, it's a combination of overestimating the risk of danger — whether that danger is in the form of embarrassment, a dog or a test — and underestimating one's ability to cope, says Lynne Siqueland, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating anxiety disorders in children and adolescents and was not involved in the study.
There is no single cause for anxiety disorders, Ginsburg says. They're the product of an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. But the disorders do run in families, she says, and there are certain parenting behaviors that can promote anxiety — like modeling anxiety in front of your kids. Modeling might be direct, like jumping up on the kitchen table when you see a mouse, or indirect, like overcautioning your kids to be careful when there's no danger.
Ginsburg has recruited participants for many clinical trials; she says it was easiest to recruit families for this one. "The parents who suffered with anxiety themselves had it since they were children, and they did not want their children to suffer in the same way that they did."
The first two therapy sessions were with the parents alone, where they discussed the impact of the parents' anxiety disorder on the family and how often they do things that could inadvertently raise levels of anxiety in their children.
In the remaining six sessions with the entire family, the therapist worked with the family on how each person could recognize anxiety and use coping strategies to deal with it.
One key strategy is helping parents understand that kids have to face their fears, Ginsburg says. Sometimes parents help their children avoid anxiety-provoking situations because they're worried it's too much for the child, "when in fact they need to help them face their fears in order to reduce their anxiety," she says.
Siqueland, who provides workshops for parents on how to help their kids cope with anxiety, agrees. Armed with the right information, Siqueland says, parents can help their children prevent anxiety or coach their kids through it when it happens. If your child is scared to walk into that first soccer practice alone because he doesn't know anyone, don't throw the car in reverse and speed back home, she says. Sit calmly with him as he musters the courage to walk in.
The biggest message Siqueland tries to impart to parents she works with is not to try to prevent anxiety, but instead promote their child's competence in handling it. If your child doesn't like to go play at friends' houses, they need to go play at more friends' houses, she says.
"That is kind of an 'aha' moment in the parent workshops," Siqueland says, "that kids who worry about these things need more practice, not less."
Another message Siqueland gives parents: Anxiety is very treatable. "Kids are not doomed to distress."
Haverhill, MA: The Northeast Massachusetts Coalition for Suicide Prevention is hosting a Community Forum on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at the Haverhill High School Auditorium from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM. This year’s program will feature Kevin Breel, a 21 year old author from Canada, stand-up comic and activist for mental health. The event is free and open to students, youth groups, educators and school staff, mental health providers and anyone in the community.
In high school, Kevin Breel was popular, on the honor roll, captain of the basketball team, yet spent his teenage years secretly depressed. One difficult night, Kevin made the choice to live instead of taking his life. Kevin has made his story public through his passionate TEDx talk entitled “Confession of a Depressed Comic” and more recently has authored his first book, Boy Meets Depression. During his talk, Kevin will explain how and why he decided to live as well as the importance of opening up to each other, sharing each other’s struggles, and asking for help.
The Coalition will be announcing details of a contest for schools and youth groups to develop a suicide prevention initiative. Contest information and an application form will be available at the community forum. For more information and to register for the event, please email email@example.com or call 978-327-6671. Please note that registration is required.
Here is link with information about how computer usage affects teenagers sleep patterns: