Helping Teens Open Up About Their Mental Health

Originally posted on eSchool News on November 26th, 2020.

Using the right approach, along with an SEL program, could help teenagers become more transparent with their mental health

Despite what kids believe, their main support system is not within their friendships. As a parent or counselor, you can allow them to believe their friends are their support providers. However, their fellow 14-year-old friends are not equipped with the maturity and understanding to help them with the big problems. Kids need a sounding board–a connection with their family to help them with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and other related concerns.

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Godspeed Little Man

Elementary Remote School

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week our CEO, Robin Glenn shares her own, personal, observations of remote learning during the time of COVID-19. Very few of us are untouched by current events and we all have stories just like hers.

Robin Glenn

Robin Glenn

This is my 20th year writing pieces in recognition of Mental Health Awareness.  Each year I write about the harsh statistics, I raise awareness, and I try in perpetuity to validate the feelings and concerns of all humans.

This year is different.  This year is different in a million macro and micro ways…for all people.

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Global Uncertainty Poses Multiple Challenges for Youth

Remote Learning With Headphones

Originally posted on Thrive Global.

The issues affecting kids are not just COVID-19 and remote learning, but political unrest, social media, financial duress, and other interrelated issues.

They are all coming together in a challenging 2020 that will put short and long-term burdens on kid’s mental health. Educators and teachers managing remote education for the year will need to consider adding tools and processes for addressing mental health, not just academic progress, and scores.

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Tips for Educators Implementing SEL – Remotely or In-Classroom

Teacher with students in background

Whether you’re starting the year in the classroom or remotely, here are some tips for engaging your students as they complete social and emotional curriculum. Knowing exactly what to say can be tough – we’ve been there!

Here are our Do’s/Asks/Do not’s built upon 25+ years of real-world experience working with teens.

Do:

  • Praise their efforts
  • Use specifics from their writing to support them
  • Encourage them to spend time on themselves 
  • Let them know that they are worth it, they are worth their own time. 
  • Let them know they are brave 
  • Tell them you appreciate their stories 
  • Tell them you value their perspective 
  • Tell them you learned new things about them
  • Use empathy 
  • Keep in mind that many of your students have never had conversations like this and this may be uncomfortable for them 
  • Keep in mind cultural differences and respect the boundaries of their beliefs and family practices
  • Understand they are doing the best they can- every student makes decisions because of the things they are going through, many of these things we cannot begin to understand

Ask:

  • Ask them how the module went for them 
  • Ask them what they enjoyed 
  • Ask them what they learned about themselves 
  • Ask them to select the highlights of the course that made the biggest impact 
  • Ask them for their ideas beyond the courses’ completion 
  • Ask them if they learned something new about someone they care for 
  • Ask them if something surprised them
  • Ask them if they need support

Do Not:

  • Use BASE Education as a punishment – it is a tool to learn
  • Criticize their responses- this is hard stuff for many of them
  • Give suggestions for their answers 
  • Judge their answers 
  • Challenge their truth 
  • Make them take a module if they do not want to

9 Tips for Working with “Difficult” Populations

“Troubled”, “High Risk”, “Difficult”, these are just some of the names that we label our students. With displays of symptoms of underlying problems, we often see behavior that can involve aggression towards self or others, extreme “attention-seeking”, low self-esteem or disproportionately inflated sense of arrogance, substance use, general disrespect towards authority figures, and more.  Admittedly, these kids are not always the easiest to work with. It takes endless amounts of patience, training, experience, and compassion to work with many “at-risk” students. That said if you are in a leadership role (teacher, coach, counselor, etc.) you can be a role model and show behaviors they may have not been exposed to before. While it may seem obvious that as a leader you will display compassion, authenticity, and patience, these youth may have never seen an adult act in this way before. In addition, it can be difficult to dig deep and find your own stride as you roll with their behaviors.
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World Mental Health Day 2019: Advocacy at All Levels

World Mental Health Day 2019
World Mental Health Day is coming up on October 10th. The theme this year is suicide prevention. When we lose a friend, a neighbor, a family member to suicide we can feel helpless. Alone. Unsure of what we could have done differently to prevent this. The World Health Organization notes that we lose one person to suicide every 40 seconds worldwide. With these staggering numbers, the W.H.O. is honoring those we have lost by encouraging people to have “40 seconds of action”. As taken from their website, they state that, “Everyone can take part in whichever way makes most sense. Your activity may be private, for example, initiating a conversation with someone you are worried about or sharing a message of hope with someone who is struggling; or it may be public, for example posting a video message for local or national authorities about action you would like them to take on this issue.”
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10 ways to not have a before-school melt down in the summer heat

We know. We can hardly believe it either. With weeks before the return to school we have to start shifting gears back to routine, education, and after-school activities. “Already?! But we haven’t done all the fun summer things yet!” you may cry out, incredulously. Yes, it is indeed that time already. Time to get moving, that is! A smooth transition back to school begins with about a month’s worth of preparation. Of course, this doesn’t need to be drudgery, math drills, and rushing to complete that summer reading assignment. Here are 10 tips to make the process of returning to academia a little smoother! Continue Reading

Understanding Suicide Contagion and How to Prevent It

Having a death by suicide in your school can be tragic for everyone in the community. But even more tragic is when that suicide instigates subsequent suicides. This heart wrenching and dangerous phenomenon is known as suicide contagion, and there are ways that schools and communities can help prevent it.

What is suicide contagion?

Suicide contagion is the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors within one’s family, one’s peer group, or through media reports of suicide. This exposure can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors. (US Department of Health and Human Services) After that first suicide happens, communities sometimes see an increase in suicides or suicidal behaviors. Continue Reading