It’s evident from headlines and the bullying epidemic that a lot of teens are on the edge of crisis. Pomegranate announces the workshop, Beyond being ‘just a kid’: A cry for help. Mental and behavioral illness in teens, May 19th, 2012. The workshop is designed for junior and senior high school nurses, counselors, and administrators- principals, superintendents, but is also useful for therapists, psychologists, school board members and first responders. There are four components to the workshop: 1) Identify mental and behavioral illness: heart, soul, eyes and ears-beyond the basics. 2) Understanding how/where to refer adolescents in crisis: the treatment process. 3) Reduce legal and administrative risk: the ethics of care. 4) Manage mental and behavioral illness: family+ school+ community partnership. Registration begins at 8:30; the workshop ends at 2:30.
Speakers are Kris Brown, RN-BC, MS, Nursing Director at Pomegranate Health Systems; Dr. Daniel Davis, PhD, ABPP, Sr. Forensic Psychologist, Netcare (and author of ‘The Angry Child’); Doug Holthus, Esq. Of Poling & Petrello Attorneys-at-Law; and Lesley R. Puett, MSW, LISW-S, Assistant Director of Community-Based Programs, Starr Commonwealth. (Participation by companies or speakers does not constitute endorsement of any product or service presented here). Contact hours/CEUs have been approved by Ohio Psychological Association, Ohio School Psychologists Association, and the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Family Therapist Board. The workshop fee is $75 and includes all-day beverage station, buffet lunch, conference materials & handouts in the Gallery 3 + Galaxy theatre at COSI, Center of Science and Industry in Columbus.
In meeting with and calling middle and senior high schools through-out Ohio, it became evident that each department, each school, each school district and each county have significantly different policies, staffing, funding, groups, assemblies, approaches- or not- regarding mental and behavioral illness in adolescents. With funding cuts, even school nurse positions are on the table and many schools do not have the wherewithal to have school psychologists on staff. Many guidance counselors are concerned with getting a teen through to graduation, academic performance, and college entrance exams or career track concerns. School nurses deal with health and wellness issues like flu shots, immunizations, kids with asthma or diabetes, sexual health/wellness, diet, teen pregnancy or even ADHD. Administrators face school boards and demanding parents while balancing budget concerns, legal issues, and disciplinary actions. There are sports programs, music programs, performance measures and more to deal with. Every day presents a new set of challenges.
Yet the need for a workshop on mental and behavioral illness in teens is critical as a NIMH survey reports that, ‘About 20% of U.S. youth during their lifetime are affected by some type of mental disorder to an extent that they have difficulty functioning.’ The October 2010 Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry reports that ‘11% (of teens) reported being severely impaired by a mood disorder-depression, or bi-polar disorder, 10% reported being severely impaired by a behavior disorder such as ADHD, or conduct disorder, and 8% reported being severely impaired by at least one type of anxiety disorder.’ Government statistics on PTSD show that ‘of those children and teens who have had a trauma, 3-15% of girls and 1-6% of boys develop PTSD’ . In districts with no-tolerance policies toward even Midol, one wonders about the 1-in-25 teens age 12-17 who must take an anti-depressant or require ongoing treatment for mental or behavioral health concerns. Depression is a very real concern, which can lead to suicidal ideation. Bullying can lead to homicidal ideation.
Regarding adolescent mental health, one district could be described as well-staffed (blessed) with school psychologists, school nurses, counselors, counseling groups, health classes and a district-wide focus on social aggression- such as bullying and its consequences. Another district in Northeastern, Ohio has implemented SOS- Signs of Depression and Suicide, yet another county uses Teen Screen to screen for risk behavior, and several in other Ohio counties are piloting the Kognito webinar series designed to screen for mental and behavioral illness and reduce teen suicide, an initiative through OSPF-Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation. Several grants through ODMH have made these programs possible.
Yet, some have said, ‘The athletic department deals with this stuff-mostly substance abuse issues on an individual as-needed basis.’ Another hospital volunteer (not far from Chardon) said, ‘We don’t have those kinds of problems or kids here.’ Another said, (exasperated), ‘We’re working on testing and getting kids to stay in school or even graduate. There simply isn’t funding for these types of programs or staff.’ The need is very real.
Registration for the workshop can be done by mail or online through http://www.eventbrite.com/event/3048731839 Reserve your spot soon, as this workshop may fill up quickly. Registration for the event ends May 9th.
[Photo credit: teen boy in hoodie by Johner/Superstock 4306r-4313]
[Photo: Teenage boy wearing baseball cap by Johner/SuperStock 4306R-4313]