YOUTH SERVICES

Our focus is on our youth and their future. Giving them hope and the ability to make wise choices.    

 

We visit schools, foster homes and group homes to help as needed with specific workshops, and mentorships.

 

We help those who have been victimized by sexual assault and abuse.  
 
We teach anti-bullying, as well as sexual assault and harassment awareness

We offer a wide verity of workshops:

·        Stress Management & Financial Management

·        Resume Assistance & Application Assistance

·        FAFSA Enrollment Assistance

·        Depression, Healthy Relationships, Anxiety, Codependency, and much more… 

Youth Services

Did you know Relationships Affect your HEALTH?


Are you in a healthy relationship? …. ask yourself: *Is my partner kind to me and respectful of my choices? *Does my partner support my using birth control? *Does my partner support my decisions about if or when I want to have more children? If you'd answered YES to these questions is likely that you are in a healthy relationship. (studies show that this kind of relationship leads to a better health, longer life, and helps your children) Are you in an unhealthy relationship? …. ask yourself: *Does my partner cause mental abuse by speaking down to me, treating me bad in front of his/her friends or family, using profanity at me and calling me outside my name? *Does my partner constantly yell at me, extremely angry when he/she gets home from work? *Does my partner mess with my birth control or try to get me pregnant when I don't want to be? *Does my partner refused to use condoms when I ask? *Does my partner make me have sex when I don't want to? *Does my partner tell me who I can talk to or where I can go? If you answered YES to any of these questions your health and safety may be in danger. Is your body being affected? …. ask yourself *Has my partner made me afraid or physically hurt me? *Am I afraid to ask my partner to use condoms? *Am I afraid my partner will hurt me if I told him I had an STD and he needed to be treated too? *Have I hidden birth control from my partner so he would not get me pregnant? If you'd answer YES to any of these questions you may be at risk for STD HIV unwanted pregnancies and serious injury. Taking control Your partner may see pregnancy as a way to keep you in his life and stay connected to you through a child-- even if that isn't what you want. If your partner makes you have sex, messes or tampers with your birth control or refuses to use a condoms: *Talk to your health care provider about birth control you can control like IUD, implant, a shot/injection. *The IUD is a device that is put into the uterus and prevents pregnancy up to 10 years. The string can be cutoff so your partner can't fill them. The IUD can be removed at anytime when you want to become pregnant. *Emergency contraceptive some call in the morning after pill may be taken up on five days after unprotected sex or preventing pregnancy it can help break be taken out if it's packaging and slipped into an envelope or empty pill bottle so your partner won't know. Who controls pregnancy decisions? Ask yourself. Has my partner ever: *Tried to pressure or make me pregnant? *Hurt or threaten me because I didn't agree to get pregnant? If I've ever been pregnant: *Has my partner told me he would hurt me if I didn't do what he wanted with the pregnancy (in either direction-continuing the pregnancy or abortion)? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are not alone and you deserve to make your own decisions without being afraid. Getting help *If your partner checks your cell phone or texts, talk to your health care provider about using their phone to call domestic violence services, so your partner can see it on your call log. *If you have an STD and are afraid your partner will hurt you if you tell him, talk with your health care provider about how to be safer and how they might tell your partner about infection without using your name.

*Studies show educating friends and family about abuse can help them take steps to be safer, giving them our information can make a difference in their lives

Brought to you by FUTURES Without Violence https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/ National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org National Dating Abuse Hotline: 866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 www.rainn.org Find a Family Pact provider near you 800-942-1054 www.familypact.org




Know the SIGNS! Suicide is Preventable...


Pain Isn't Always Obvious

Are you concerned for someone else?

Pain Isn't Always Obvious. Reach out to someone you are concerned about if you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased or seems related to a painful event, loss or change:

Warning signs to look for:

* Talking about wanting to die or suicide

* Looking for a way to kill themselves

* Feeling hopeless, desperate, trapped

* Giving away possessions

* Putting affairs in order

* Reckless behavior

* Uncontrolled anger

* Increased drug or alcohol use

* Withdrawal

* Anxiety or agitation

* Changes in sleep

* Sudden mood changes

* No sense of purpose

If you are concerned about someone, reach out and ask:

" Are you thinking about suicide?"

If you think the person is suicidal, take it seriously. Don't leave them alone. Call the us at 714 - 561 -8196 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 at anytime for assistance or call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

Brought to you by suicideispreventable.org Reach out to them to learn if someone you know might be at risk.




Are you having thoughts of SUICIDE or just need to talk to someone?


Are you having thoughts of SUICIDE or just need to talk to someone? Whatever you're going through, you're not alone. If you're in pain, call us at 714 -561-8196 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255. Your call is FREE and will be answered by well-trained and compassionate counselors. Remeber... THERE IS HOPE Brought to you by suicideispreventable.org




Caring Relationships, Healthy YOU!


How are you feeling? Do my partner(s) : * Support me and respect my choices? * Support me in spending time with my friends and family? Do I: * Feel comfortable about talking about my feeling, sex, and other important things with my partner(s). * Support my partner(s), their independence, and their identities? These are some elements of healthy relationship, which can contribute to good physical, and mental health. Everyone deserves to have partners who respect them and listen and listen to what they want and need. Ask yourself... Do I have concerns about the way: * I am being treated? * I am treating my partner(s)? Unhealthy relationships can have negative effects on your health. Unhealthy: Do you or your partner.... * Use guilt or jealousy to influence what the other person does or who they see? * Put the other person down or make them feel bad about themselves? * Threaten to out the other's gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV status or immigration status to friends, family, or at work? * Refused to recognize the other person's name, pronoun, identity or preferred language? * Control the others money or spending freedom? * Restrict the others access to medicine (hormones, anti-anxiety/depression, PrEP/PEP, ART, substance replacement therapy, birth control)? * Use the other's children to control or hurt them? * Pressure the other person to do something sexual they don't want to do? Or fetishize or exoticize the other person's identity and/or body without consent? Actions like these can be harmful for your emotinal and physical health. Help is Avialble! Is your relationship affecting your health? * Do you often feel depressed, anxious or stressed? Is your relationship making it worse? * Are you drinking, smoking, or using drugs in order to cope with what's is going on in your relationship(s)? * Have you noticed a change in your appetite, weight, or sleeping habits? * Do you have health issues that can be worsened by chronic stress? We have resources that can help you, please reach out to us at 714-561-8196. Let us help you make a plan, talk to your provider about how your relationship could be affecting your health. YOU ARE NOT ALONE Abuse and/or domestic violence occurs in all kinds of relationships. The fact that it happens often does not make it okay! You deserve to be in a relationship that is supportive and feels good. Help Is Available! A plan that works for you: If you feel that there is something not right about your relationship it could be helpful to talk with a trusted friend or advocate about what you have been experiencing. Together, you could formulate a plan about: * How to get support for things you may be doing to help you cope, such as: binge drinking , using drugs, eating too much or too little. * How to connect with your health provider about what to do if your partner is restricting your access to medications or health visits, and other ways that your relationship could be affecting your health. * How to reduce harm within your relationship and/or develop a safety plan. * How to connect with resources in your community, and learn about your options Brought to you by FUTURES Without Violence https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/ The Trevor Project (Crisis line for LGBTQ Youth) 866-488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org FORGE (Trans Community) www.forge-foward.org National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org National Dating Abuse Hotline: 866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 www.rainn.org Find a Family Pact provider near you 800-942-1054 www.familypact.org




Childrens Mental Health


Tumbles, scrapes, ouches, owies and boo-boos: Just another day in the life of a parent. But what about invisible pain? The kind of pain you can’t kiss and make better. Like the doctor you turn to for fevers and flus, there’s help out there for that kind of pain, too. Children’s mental health problems are real, common and treatable. Although one in five children has a diagnosable mental health problem, nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help. Untreated mental health problems can undermine a child’s ability to thrive at home, school and in the community. Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk for problems now and later in life, such as problems in school (including dropping out), getting involved with the criminal justice system, unemployment and suicide. Parents and family members are usually the first to notice if a child has problems with emotions or behavior. Your observations, along with those of teachers and other caregivers, can help determine whether you need to seek help for your child. While all children struggle from time to time and may have one of the following issues to some degree, the following signs may indicate the need for professional help when more than one is present, or if a single issue is persistent and/or interfering with school, friendships or home life:

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Constant worrying or anxiety
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability
Although these may seem like individual issues, they could be an indication of something bigger, especially if they persist. Early identification, diagnosis and treatment can help children reach their full potential. If you suspect a problem or have questions, talk with your child’s pediatrician or reach out to us, we'd love to help you. You are not in this alone. Learn more about good mental health for your child with these fact sheets provided by Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/what-every-child-needs-good-mental-health. Brought to you by: https://up2riverside.org/learn/childrens-mental-health/




Break the STIGMA of Mental Health


What is stigma and why do we need to stop it? Stigma refers to judgments or inaccurate beliefs people may hold about a group of people. Discrimination refers to the unfair actions people may take based on those stigmatizing beliefs. Unfortunately, people with mental health challenges often experience judgment or unfair treatment because of the stigma associated with mental illness in our culture. In fact, 90% of Californians living with psychological distress reported some measure of discrimination in a recent study. Prejudice and discrimination often become internalized by people with mental health and substance use problems, meaning they begin to believe the negative things that other people or the media say about them. As a result, many people delay seeking help. Stigma and discrimination can also lead to children dropping out of school, difficulty finding housing or jobs, or it may prevent people from forming close relationships. Watch these video's to learn more about stigma and the impact it has on individuals and our society. https://vimeo.com/145923301 https://youtu.be/OsRF8xGgbPA Mental health affects us all in some way, whether it’s our own struggles or those of people we know and care about. All of us have a reason to take action to help create safe and supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health without fear and can access support when it is needed. Explore more on : It’s Up to Us https://up2riverside.org To do your part in reducing stigma, consider these tips when talking to others:

  • Know the facts and educate others

Find opportunities to pass on facts and positive attitudes about people with mental health problems. If your friends, family, co-workers or even the media present information that is not true, challenge their myths and stereotypes. Let them know how their negative words and incorrect descriptions affect people with mental health problems by keeping alive the false ideas.
  • Be aware of your own attitudes and behavior

We’ve all grown up with prejudices and judgmental thinking. But we can change the way we think! See people as unique human beings, not as labels or stereotypes. See the person beyond their mental illness; they have many other personal attributes that do not disappear just because they also have a mental illness.
  • Choose your words carefully

The way we speak can affect the way other people think and speak. Don’t use hurtful or derogatory language.
  • Focus on the positive

People with mental health and substance use problems make valuable contributions to society. Their health problems are just one part of who they are. We’ve all heard the negative stories. Let’s recognize and applaud the positive ones. View a few examples of inspiring Riverside stories here: https://up2riverside.org/learn/personal-stories/
  • Be inclusive

Treat people who have mental health problems with dignity and respect. Think about how you’d like others to act toward you if you were in the same situation. If you have family members, friends or co-workers with substance use or mental health problems, support their choices and encourage their efforts to get well. In fact, denying people access to things such as jobs, housing and health care, which the rest of us take for granted, violates human rights. You are not in this alone, we are here to help: https://www.centralpointis.org/appointments To learn your rights visit disabilityrightsca.org “Stand Up Against Stigma.” It's Up to Us Riverside, up2riverside.org/help-others/stand-up-against-stigma/.




Bullying: Tips For Parents


Incidents of school violence demonstrate that bullying can have tragic consequences for individuals, families, schools and entire communities. Bullying is painful, lasting and related to low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, anger, and other mental and physical health problems. Because of the increased risk of suicide associated with bullying--for victims and perpetrators alike--open dialogue and support are crucial in ensuring safety for our children and teenagers. Parents PDF Factsheet: https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/BACK%20TO%20SCHOOL%202014%20-%20Bullying%20Tips%20for%20Parents.pdf

  • Recognize It
Bullying is aggressive behavior. It occurs when a child is targeted by one or more youth with repeated negative actions over a period of time. These are intentional attempts to cause discomfort or injury and can include name-calling, obscene gesturing, malicious teasing, exclusion, threats, rumors, physical hitting, kicking, pushing and choking. Cyber-bullying is also a real and growing problem today. Make no mistake: bullying of any kind is a form of violence that should not be tolerated.
  • See The Scope Of The Problem
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that one-third of U.S. students experience bullying, either as a target or a perpetrator. More than 70 percent of teachers and students have witnessed bullying in their schools. [1] 28 percent of students, in 6th through 12th grade, report being bullied. [2] Only a small percentage of children who are bullied, report it. The reason is often because they do not believe adults will help them. [3]
  • Spot The Bullies
Both boys and girls bully. Boys bully more often and are more likely to experience physical bullying. Girls are more likely to experience emotional bullying and sexual harassment. Bullies usually pick on others out of frustration with their own lives. They target other children because they need a victim who is weaker than them. While they may feel uneasy about it, many children tease their peers simply to go along with the crowd. Bullying is linked to depression. [4] Bullies are more likely to have social influence and be overly concerned with popularity. They are also more like to have low self-esteem, be easily pressured by others, be less able to identify with the feelings of others, view violence in a positive way, and have difficulty in following rules. [5]
  • Know Their Targets
Those who are seen as being different from their peers or are weak, depressed, less popular, or unable to get along with peers are more likely to become victims of bullying. [6]Females in high school (22 percent) are twice as likely as male high school students (11 percent) to report being cyberbullied. They are also more likely to report being bullied on school property (22 percent to 18 percent). [7]LGBTQ youth are at special risk of being bullied; up to 85 percent report having been verbally harassed, and 40 percent physically assaulted. [8]
  • Take Steps To Stop It Checklist
Start early . Parent/child talks are essential. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis. Even small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. Don’t fail to correct this kind of behavior due to a child’s young age. This is exactly when to stop it. Teach your children how to be assertive. Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting and walk away in dangerous situations. Stop bullying when you see it . Adults who remain silent when bullying occurs are encouraging it and making it worse. Listen and support children who speak up. Telling an adult about bullying is not easy for children. If a child comes to you seeking assistance with bullying, spend time listening to them and provide affirmation and support before taking actions. Read through and discuss the Bullying Checklist with your child as a resource. https://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tab-are-you-being-bullied.pdf Recognize the signs of depression. Youth who experience persistent bullying can develop signs of depression like sadness, isolation, poor concentration and sleeping problems. These symptoms can affect their relationships and school performance. Many children do not recognize or speak up about their emotional needs. Make sure to reach out and get them help when you see these signs. Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn’t stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to. Communicate clear policies and consequences. Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences. Team up . Work with your PTA or local MHA affiliate to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments. Other Resources https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now You can find more helpful information about bullying at http://www.stopbullying.gov/. Check out this online Guide to Bullying and Cyberbullying. References “Bullying: Tips for Parents.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/bullying-tips-parents [1] Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382. [2] National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement , 2008–2009 [3] http://www.education.com/reference/article/why-kids-do-not-report-bullying/, 2009 [4] http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-depression.html [5] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/factors/index.html#morelikely, 2014 [6] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/factors/index.html [7] http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf, 2011 data [8] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/lgbt/white_house_conference_materials.pdf




Bullying: LGBT Youth


While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) teens also have to deal with harassment, threats and violence directed at them on a daily basis. LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely to be called names, verbally harassed or physically assaulted at school compared to their non-LGBT peers. Their mental health and education, not to mention their physical well-being, are at-risk. LGBT Youth Facts Sheet: https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/BACK%20TO%20SCHOOL%202014%20-%20Bullying%20and%20LGBT%20Youth.pdf How Is Their Mental Health Being Affected?

  • Substance Use: Gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender youth are more than twice as likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. [1]
  • Happiness: Only 37% of LGBT youth report being happy, while 67% of non-LGBT youth say they are happy. However, over 80% of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, with nearly half believing that they will need to move away from their current town to find happiness. [1]
  • Self-Harm: With each instance of verbal or physical harassment, the risk of self-harm among LGBT youth is 2 ½ times more likely. [2]
  • Suicide: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.[3]
How Is Their Education Being Affected? Gay teens in U.S. schools are often subjected to such intense bullying that they’re unable to receive an adequate education.
  • LGBT youth identified bullying problems as the second most important problem in their lives, after non-accepting families, compared to non-LGBT youth identifying classes/exams/grades. [1]
  • LGBT youth who reported they were frequently harassed in school had lower grade point averages than students who were less often harassed. [4]
  • One survey revealed that more than one-third of gay respondents had missed an entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe there.[4]
  • LGBT youth feel they have nowhere to turn. Sixty percent of LGBT students did not report incidents to school staff. One-third who reported an incident said the staff did nothing in response. [4]
What Can We Do To Help? Schools should offer a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone. When bullying is allowed to take place, it affects everyone. The 2011 National School Climate survey recommends: [4]
  • Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). School clubs provide safe spaces and support networks for LGBT students. Students who attended schools with GSAs reported fewer homophobic remarks, more intervention from school personnel and a greater sense of connectedness.
  • Supportive educators. LGBT Students who report having a greater number of supportive staff (six or more) had higher GPAs.
  • Comprehensive bullying/harassment policies and laws. Students reported that school staff intervened twice as often in schools with comprehensive bullying/harassment policies.
Help End Bullying At Your School With The Following Actions:
  • Be alert to signs of distress.
  • Work with student councils to have programs on respect, school safety and anti-bullying.
  • Ask school personnel to have a discussion at an assembly or an after-school activity about gay prejudice.
  • Help start a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) chapter at your local high school.
  • Arrange for a group like GLSEN to present bullying prevention activities and programs at your school.
  • Do encourage anyone who’s being bullied to tell a teacher, counselor, coach, nurse, or his or her parents or guardians. If the bullying continues, report it yourself.
Other Resources: National Association Of School Psychologists (301) 657-0270
www.nasponline.org American Psychological Association (202) 336-5500
www.apa.org Association Of Gay And Lesbian Psychiatrists (215) 222-2800
www.aglp.org The Gay, Lesbian And Straight Education Network (212) 727-0135
www.glsen.org The Trevor Project 1 (866)-488-7386
www.trevorproject.org Human Rights Campaign (800) 777-4723
www.hrc.org Human Rights Watch (212) 290-4700
www.hrw.org National Youth Advocacy Coalition (800) 541-6922
www.nyacyouth.org Parents, Families, And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays (202) 467-8180
wwwpflag.org Resources “Bullying: LGBT Youth.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/bullying-lgbt-youth. [1] Human Rights Campaign. (2013). Growing Up LGBT in America: HRC Youth Survey Report Key Findings. Washington, D.C. [2] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32. [3] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [4] Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.




Talking To Kids About School Safety


School violence and the resulting intense media coverage bring school safety issues to the forefront for all of us. However, children, in particular, may experience anxiety, fear, and a sense of personal risk. Knowing how to talk with your child about school safety issues could be critical in recognizing and preventing acts of violence, and will play an important role in easing fear and anxieties about their personal safety. To guide parents through discussions about school violence, Mental Health America offers the following suggestions:

  • Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to prompt them by asking if they feel safe at school. When talking with younger children remember to talk on their level. For example, they may not understand the term “violence” but can talk to you about being afraid or a classmate who is mean to them.
  • Talk honestly about your own feelings regarding school violence. It is important for children to recognize they are not dealing with their fears alone.
  • Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns. Let him/her know that serious school violence is not common, which is why incidents such as Columbine and Conyers, Georgia, attract so much media attention. Stress that schools are safe places. In fact, recent studies have shown that schools are more secure now than ever before.
  • Empower children to take action regarding school safety. Encourage them to report specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide) and to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Encourage older children to actively participate in student-run anti-violence programs.
  • Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school. Explain why visitors sign in at the principal’s office or certain doors remain locked during the school day. Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.
  • Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school. Also ensure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of crisis during the school day. Remind your child that they can talk to you anytime they feel threatened.
  • Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school. Younger children may react to school violence by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline.
  • Keep the dialogue going and make school safety a common topic in family discussions rather than just a response to an immediate crisis. Open dialogue will encourage children to share their concerns.
  • Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a child’s reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at school or at your community mental health center. Your local Mental Health Association or the National Mental Health Association’s Information Center can direct you to resources in your community.
The following behaviors are signs that a child may need help:
  • Lack of interest or poor performance in school
  • Absence of age-appropriate anger control skills
  • Seeing self as always the victim
  • Persistent disregard for or refusal to follow rules
  • Cruelty to pets or other animals
  • Artwork or writing that is bleak or violent or that depicts isolation or anger
  • Talking constantly about weapons or violence
  • Obsession with violent games and/or TV shows
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Carrying a weapon to school
  • Overreacting to criticism
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Bullying
  • Misplaced or unwarranted jealousy
  • Involvement with or interest in gangs
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
Source: “Talking To Kids About School Safety.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/talking-kids-about-school-safety.




Helping Children Cope With Loss


"Helping a child cope with loss is perhaps one of the most important roles an adult can play. In effect, you are helping that child develop skills that can last a lifetime." The death of a loved one is always difficult. For children, the death of a loved one can affect their sense of security. Like adults, children express loss by grieving. Yet children may not demonstrate the grief in the same manner as adults. Pre-schoolers usually see death as temporary; between the ages of 5 and 9, children begin to experience grief more like adults. NMHA provides the following information for parents, educators and others who may help a child overcome loss. Signs Of Grieving In Children & Adolescents

  • Sadness
  • Profound emotional reactions-anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, anger, thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of anger, denial, shock and confusion
  • Extended depression with a loss of interest in daily activities and events
  • Boisterous play
  • Inability to sleep, nightmares, loss of appetite, prolonged fear of being alone
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Sharp drop in school performance or refusal to attend school
  • Excessively imitating or asking questions about the deceased; repeated statements of wanting to join the deceased; inventing games about dying
  • Acting much younger for an extended period or reverting to earlier behaviors (e.g., bedwetting, baby talk, thumb-sucking)
  • Loss of concentration and/or irritability
  • Humiliation or guilt over personal failure to prevent loss of life
  • Frequent physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches
Helping Children & Adolescents Grieve Long-term denial of death or avoidance of grief is unhealthy for children and may resurface later with more severe problems. Here is a list of things you can do to help a child overcome loss.
  • Children are concrete in their thinking. To lessen confusion, avoid expressions such as quot;passed on" or "went to sleep." Answer their questions about death simply and honestly. Only offer details that they can absorb. Don't overload them with information.
  • Children can be fearful about death and the future. Don't offer false comfort. Give them a chance to talk about their fears and validate their feelings. Offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.
  • Children are repetitive in their grief. Respond patiently to their uncertainty and concerns. It can take a long time to recover from a loss.
  • Children are physical in their grief. Watch their bodies, understand and support their play and actions as their "language" of grief. Offer reassurance.
  • Children grieve cyclically. Expect their grief to revisit in cycles throughout their childhood or adolescence. A strong reminder, such as the anniversary of a death, may reawaken grief. Make yourself available to talk.
  • Children need choices. Whenever possible, offer choices in what they do or don't do to memorialize the deceased and ways to express their feelings about the death.
  • Children grieve as part of a family. Expect children to mourn the deceased and the environment that existed before the death. Children may grieve the "changed" behavior of family and friends. Keep regular routines as much as possible.
Resources Help is available. Organizations and resources that can provide useful materials and referral information are listed below.
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (800) 333-7636 http://www.aacap.org --- professional membership organization of psychiatrists provides resources for parents and teens.
  • Center for Mental Health Services. (800) 789-2647 http://www.mentalhealth.org/child. --- a Federal Government clearinghouse offering mental health English and Spanish language publications for families, children, and adolescents.
  • Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families. (503) 775-5683 http://www.dougy.org --- a national support center for grieving children, teens, and families.
  • GriefNet. http://www.griefnet.org ---an Internet community of more than 30 Email support groups and two web sites, offering a moderated chat room for children who are in grief and their parents, lists of books and other library information, memorials, newsletters, a directory of suicide prevention and survivors' information, and more.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (301) 443-4513 http://www.nimh.nih.gov ---the mental health research component of the National Institutes of Health, which provides printed and online materials.
  • UCLA School Mental Health Project. (310) 825-3634 http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu --- a resource center that provides schools and teachers with resources for helping children.
Brought to you by: “Helping Children Cope With Loss.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/helping-children-cope-loss.




Depression In Teens


It’s not unusual for young people to experience "the blues" or feel "down in the dumps" occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life. Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet. They are also forced to learn about the threat of AIDS, even if they are not sexually active or using drugs. Teens need adult guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When teens’ moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention — adolescent depression. Parents or caregivers must take action. Dealing With Adolescent Pressures When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.

  • Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens’ self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
  • Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
  • Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
  • Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.
But sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events (such as death or divorce), side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns. Recognizing Adolescent Depression Adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent surveys indicate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression. This is a serious problem that calls for prompt, appropriate treatment. Depression can take several forms, including bipolar disorder (formally called manic-depression), which is a condition that alternates between periods of euphoria and depression. Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults may expect teens to act moody. Also, adolescents do not always understand or express their feelings very well. They may not be aware of the symptoms of depression and may not seek help. These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:
  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
A quick, easy and confidential way to determine if you may be experiencing depression is to take a mental health screening. A screening is not a diagnosis, but a way of understanding if your symptoms are having enough of an impact that you should seek help from a doctor or other professional. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a depression screening. Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. Teens also may express their depression through hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behavior. But such behaviors only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroyed relationships with friends, family, law enforcement or school officials. Treating Adolescent Depression It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment. Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice. Therapy can help teens understand why they are depressed and learn how to cope with stressful situations. Depending on the situation, treatment may consist of individual, group or family counseling. Medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist may be necessary to help teens feel better. Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:
  • Psychotherapy provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them. Psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
  • Interpersonal therapy focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school.
  • Medication relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy.
When depressed adolescents recognize the need for help, they have taken a major step toward recovery. However, remember that few adolescents seek help on their own. They may need encouragement from their friends and support from concerned adults to seek help and follow treatment recommendations. Facing The Danger Of Teen Suicide Sometimes teens feel so depressed that they consider ending their lives. Each year, almost 5,000 young people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves. The rate of suicide for this age group has nearly tripled since 1960, making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth. Studies show that suicide attempts among young people may be based on long-standing problems triggered by a specific event. Suicidal adolescents may view a temporary situation as a permanent condition. Feelings of anger and resentment combined with exaggerated guilt can lead to impulsive, self-destructive acts. Recognizing The Warning Signs Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings. Pay attention to these warning signs:
  • Suicide threats, direct and indirect
  • Obsession with death
  • Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
  • Giving away belongings
  • Dramatic change in personality or appearance
  • Irrational, bizarre behavior
  • Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
  • Changed eating or sleeping patterns
  • Severe drop in school performance
REMEMBER!!! These warning signs should be taken seriously. Obtain help immediately. Caring and support can save a young life.
Helping Suicidal Teens
  • Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.
  • Pay attention to talk about suicide. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Silence is deadly!
  • Seek professional help. It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping depressed teens. Also, alert key adults in the teen’s life — family, friends and teachers.
Looking To The Future When adolescents are depressed, they have a tough time believing that their outlook can improve. But professional treatment can have a dramatic impact on their lives. It can put them back on track and bring them hope for the future. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Other Resources The Boys Town National Hotline. (800)-448-3000. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 Phone Number: (202) 966-7300 Email Address: clinical@aacap.org Website URL: www.aacap.org American Association of Suicidology 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW; Suite 310 Washington, DC 20008 Phone: 202-237-2280 Suicide Awareness/Voices of Prevention The Jed Foundation. Suicide prevention for college students. The Nine Line. (800) 999-9999. Covenant House crisis counseling for homeless and at-risk children. Source: “Depression in Teens.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/depression-teens-0.





Youth Mental Health

Did you know Relationships Affect your HEALTH?


Are you in a healthy relationship? …. ask yourself: *Is my partner kind to me and respectful of my choices? *Does my partner support my using birth control? *Does my partner support my decisions about if or when I want to have more children? If you'd answered YES to these questions is likely that you are in a healthy relationship. (studies show that this kind of relationship leads to a better health, longer life, and helps your children) Are you in an unhealthy relationship? …. ask yourself: *Does my partner cause mental abuse by speaking down to me, treating me bad in front of his/her friends or family, using profanity at me and calling me outside my name? *Does my partner constantly yell at me, extremely angry when he/she gets home from work? *Does my partner mess with my birth control or try to get me pregnant when I don't want to be? *Does my partner refused to use condoms when I ask? *Does my partner make me have sex when I don't want to? *Does my partner tell me who I can talk to or where I can go? If you answered YES to any of these questions your health and safety may be in danger. Is your body being affected? …. ask yourself *Has my partner made me afraid or physically hurt me? *Am I afraid to ask my partner to use condoms? *Am I afraid my partner will hurt me if I told him I had an STD and he needed to be treated too? *Have I hidden birth control from my partner so he would not get me pregnant? If you'd answer YES to any of these questions you may be at risk for STD HIV unwanted pregnancies and serious injury. Taking control Your partner may see pregnancy as a way to keep you in his life and stay connected to you through a child-- even if that isn't what you want. If your partner makes you have sex, messes or tampers with your birth control or refuses to use a condoms: *Talk to your health care provider about birth control you can control like IUD, implant, a shot/injection. *The IUD is a device that is put into the uterus and prevents pregnancy up to 10 years. The string can be cutoff so your partner can't fill them. The IUD can be removed at anytime when you want to become pregnant. *Emergency contraceptive some call in the morning after pill may be taken up on five days after unprotected sex or preventing pregnancy it can help break be taken out if it's packaging and slipped into an envelope or empty pill bottle so your partner won't know. Who controls pregnancy decisions? Ask yourself. Has my partner ever: *Tried to pressure or make me pregnant? *Hurt or threaten me because I didn't agree to get pregnant? If I've ever been pregnant: *Has my partner told me he would hurt me if I didn't do what he wanted with the pregnancy (in either direction-continuing the pregnancy or abortion)? If you answered YES to any of these questions, you are not alone and you deserve to make your own decisions without being afraid. Getting help *If your partner checks your cell phone or texts, talk to your health care provider about using their phone to call domestic violence services, so your partner can see it on your call log. *If you have an STD and are afraid your partner will hurt you if you tell him, talk with your health care provider about how to be safer and how they might tell your partner about infection without using your name.

*Studies show educating friends and family about abuse can help them take steps to be safer, giving them our information can make a difference in their lives

Brought to you by FUTURES Without Violence https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/ National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org National Dating Abuse Hotline: 866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 www.rainn.org Find a Family Pact provider near you 800-942-1054 www.familypact.org




Know the SIGNS! Suicide is Preventable...


Pain Isn't Always Obvious

Are you concerned for someone else?

Pain Isn't Always Obvious. Reach out to someone you are concerned about if you observe one or more of these warning signs, especially if the behavior is new, has increased or seems related to a painful event, loss or change:

Warning signs to look for:

* Talking about wanting to die or suicide

* Looking for a way to kill themselves

* Feeling hopeless, desperate, trapped

* Giving away possessions

* Putting affairs in order

* Reckless behavior

* Uncontrolled anger

* Increased drug or alcohol use

* Withdrawal

* Anxiety or agitation

* Changes in sleep

* Sudden mood changes

* No sense of purpose

If you are concerned about someone, reach out and ask:

" Are you thinking about suicide?"

If you think the person is suicidal, take it seriously. Don't leave them alone. Call the us at 714 - 561 -8196 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 at anytime for assistance or call 911 for life-threatening emergencies.

Brought to you by suicideispreventable.org Reach out to them to learn if someone you know might be at risk.




Are you having thoughts of SUICIDE or just need to talk to someone?


Are you having thoughts of SUICIDE or just need to talk to someone? Whatever you're going through, you're not alone. If you're in pain, call us at 714 -561-8196 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255. Your call is FREE and will be answered by well-trained and compassionate counselors. Remeber... THERE IS HOPE Brought to you by suicideispreventable.org




Caring Relationships, Healthy YOU!


How are you feeling? Do my partner(s) : * Support me and respect my choices? * Support me in spending time with my friends and family? Do I: * Feel comfortable about talking about my feeling, sex, and other important things with my partner(s). * Support my partner(s), their independence, and their identities? These are some elements of healthy relationship, which can contribute to good physical, and mental health. Everyone deserves to have partners who respect them and listen and listen to what they want and need. Ask yourself... Do I have concerns about the way: * I am being treated? * I am treating my partner(s)? Unhealthy relationships can have negative effects on your health. Unhealthy: Do you or your partner.... * Use guilt or jealousy to influence what the other person does or who they see? * Put the other person down or make them feel bad about themselves? * Threaten to out the other's gender identity, sexual orientation, HIV status or immigration status to friends, family, or at work? * Refused to recognize the other person's name, pronoun, identity or preferred language? * Control the others money or spending freedom? * Restrict the others access to medicine (hormones, anti-anxiety/depression, PrEP/PEP, ART, substance replacement therapy, birth control)? * Use the other's children to control or hurt them? * Pressure the other person to do something sexual they don't want to do? Or fetishize or exoticize the other person's identity and/or body without consent? Actions like these can be harmful for your emotinal and physical health. Help is Avialble! Is your relationship affecting your health? * Do you often feel depressed, anxious or stressed? Is your relationship making it worse? * Are you drinking, smoking, or using drugs in order to cope with what's is going on in your relationship(s)? * Have you noticed a change in your appetite, weight, or sleeping habits? * Do you have health issues that can be worsened by chronic stress? We have resources that can help you, please reach out to us at 714-561-8196. Let us help you make a plan, talk to your provider about how your relationship could be affecting your health. YOU ARE NOT ALONE Abuse and/or domestic violence occurs in all kinds of relationships. The fact that it happens often does not make it okay! You deserve to be in a relationship that is supportive and feels good. Help Is Available! A plan that works for you: If you feel that there is something not right about your relationship it could be helpful to talk with a trusted friend or advocate about what you have been experiencing. Together, you could formulate a plan about: * How to get support for things you may be doing to help you cope, such as: binge drinking , using drugs, eating too much or too little. * How to connect with your health provider about what to do if your partner is restricting your access to medications or health visits, and other ways that your relationship could be affecting your health. * How to reduce harm within your relationship and/or develop a safety plan. * How to connect with resources in your community, and learn about your options Brought to you by FUTURES Without Violence https://www.futureswithoutviolence.org/ The Trevor Project (Crisis line for LGBTQ Youth) 866-488-7386 www.thetrevorproject.org FORGE (Trans Community) www.forge-foward.org National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-7233 www.thehotline.org National Dating Abuse Hotline: 866-331-9474 www.loveisrespect.org National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673 www.rainn.org Find a Family Pact provider near you 800-942-1054 www.familypact.org




Childrens Mental Health


Tumbles, scrapes, ouches, owies and boo-boos: Just another day in the life of a parent. But what about invisible pain? The kind of pain you can’t kiss and make better. Like the doctor you turn to for fevers and flus, there’s help out there for that kind of pain, too. Children’s mental health problems are real, common and treatable. Although one in five children has a diagnosable mental health problem, nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help. Untreated mental health problems can undermine a child’s ability to thrive at home, school and in the community. Without treatment, children with mental health issues are at increased risk for problems now and later in life, such as problems in school (including dropping out), getting involved with the criminal justice system, unemployment and suicide. Parents and family members are usually the first to notice if a child has problems with emotions or behavior. Your observations, along with those of teachers and other caregivers, can help determine whether you need to seek help for your child. While all children struggle from time to time and may have one of the following issues to some degree, the following signs may indicate the need for professional help when more than one is present, or if a single issue is persistent and/or interfering with school, friendships or home life:

  • Decline in school performance
  • Poor grades despite strong efforts
  • Constant worrying or anxiety
  • Repeated refusal to go to school or to take part in normal activities
  • Hyperactivity or fidgeting
  • Persistent nightmares
  • Persistent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums
  • Depression, sadness or irritability
Although these may seem like individual issues, they could be an indication of something bigger, especially if they persist. Early identification, diagnosis and treatment can help children reach their full potential. If you suspect a problem or have questions, talk with your child’s pediatrician or reach out to us, we'd love to help you. You are not in this alone. Learn more about good mental health for your child with these fact sheets provided by Mental Health America: https://www.mhanational.org/what-every-child-needs-good-mental-health. Brought to you by: https://up2riverside.org/learn/childrens-mental-health/




Break the STIGMA of Mental Health


What is stigma and why do we need to stop it? Stigma refers to judgments or inaccurate beliefs people may hold about a group of people. Discrimination refers to the unfair actions people may take based on those stigmatizing beliefs. Unfortunately, people with mental health challenges often experience judgment or unfair treatment because of the stigma associated with mental illness in our culture. In fact, 90% of Californians living with psychological distress reported some measure of discrimination in a recent study. Prejudice and discrimination often become internalized by people with mental health and substance use problems, meaning they begin to believe the negative things that other people or the media say about them. As a result, many people delay seeking help. Stigma and discrimination can also lead to children dropping out of school, difficulty finding housing or jobs, or it may prevent people from forming close relationships. Watch these video's to learn more about stigma and the impact it has on individuals and our society. https://vimeo.com/145923301 https://youtu.be/OsRF8xGgbPA Mental health affects us all in some way, whether it’s our own struggles or those of people we know and care about. All of us have a reason to take action to help create safe and supportive communities where we can talk openly about mental health without fear and can access support when it is needed. Explore more on : It’s Up to Us https://up2riverside.org To do your part in reducing stigma, consider these tips when talking to others:

  • Know the facts and educate others

Find opportunities to pass on facts and positive attitudes about people with mental health problems. If your friends, family, co-workers or even the media present information that is not true, challenge their myths and stereotypes. Let them know how their negative words and incorrect descriptions affect people with mental health problems by keeping alive the false ideas.
  • Be aware of your own attitudes and behavior

We’ve all grown up with prejudices and judgmental thinking. But we can change the way we think! See people as unique human beings, not as labels or stereotypes. See the person beyond their mental illness; they have many other personal attributes that do not disappear just because they also have a mental illness.
  • Choose your words carefully

The way we speak can affect the way other people think and speak. Don’t use hurtful or derogatory language.
  • Focus on the positive

People with mental health and substance use problems make valuable contributions to society. Their health problems are just one part of who they are. We’ve all heard the negative stories. Let’s recognize and applaud the positive ones. View a few examples of inspiring Riverside stories here: https://up2riverside.org/learn/personal-stories/
  • Be inclusive

Treat people who have mental health problems with dignity and respect. Think about how you’d like others to act toward you if you were in the same situation. If you have family members, friends or co-workers with substance use or mental health problems, support their choices and encourage their efforts to get well. In fact, denying people access to things such as jobs, housing and health care, which the rest of us take for granted, violates human rights. You are not in this alone, we are here to help: https://www.centralpointis.org/appointments To learn your rights visit disabilityrightsca.org “Stand Up Against Stigma.” It's Up to Us Riverside, up2riverside.org/help-others/stand-up-against-stigma/.




Bullying: Tips For Parents


Incidents of school violence demonstrate that bullying can have tragic consequences for individuals, families, schools and entire communities. Bullying is painful, lasting and related to low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts, anger, and other mental and physical health problems. Because of the increased risk of suicide associated with bullying--for victims and perpetrators alike--open dialogue and support are crucial in ensuring safety for our children and teenagers. Parents PDF Factsheet: https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/BACK%20TO%20SCHOOL%202014%20-%20Bullying%20Tips%20for%20Parents.pdf

  • Recognize It
Bullying is aggressive behavior. It occurs when a child is targeted by one or more youth with repeated negative actions over a period of time. These are intentional attempts to cause discomfort or injury and can include name-calling, obscene gesturing, malicious teasing, exclusion, threats, rumors, physical hitting, kicking, pushing and choking. Cyber-bullying is also a real and growing problem today. Make no mistake: bullying of any kind is a form of violence that should not be tolerated.
  • See The Scope Of The Problem
The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that one-third of U.S. students experience bullying, either as a target or a perpetrator. More than 70 percent of teachers and students have witnessed bullying in their schools. [1] 28 percent of students, in 6th through 12th grade, report being bullied. [2] Only a small percentage of children who are bullied, report it. The reason is often because they do not believe adults will help them. [3]
  • Spot The Bullies
Both boys and girls bully. Boys bully more often and are more likely to experience physical bullying. Girls are more likely to experience emotional bullying and sexual harassment. Bullies usually pick on others out of frustration with their own lives. They target other children because they need a victim who is weaker than them. While they may feel uneasy about it, many children tease their peers simply to go along with the crowd. Bullying is linked to depression. [4] Bullies are more likely to have social influence and be overly concerned with popularity. They are also more like to have low self-esteem, be easily pressured by others, be less able to identify with the feelings of others, view violence in a positive way, and have difficulty in following rules. [5]
  • Know Their Targets
Those who are seen as being different from their peers or are weak, depressed, less popular, or unable to get along with peers are more likely to become victims of bullying. [6]Females in high school (22 percent) are twice as likely as male high school students (11 percent) to report being cyberbullied. They are also more likely to report being bullied on school property (22 percent to 18 percent). [7]LGBTQ youth are at special risk of being bullied; up to 85 percent report having been verbally harassed, and 40 percent physically assaulted. [8]
  • Take Steps To Stop It Checklist
Start early . Parent/child talks are essential. Teach kids to respect others before they start school and continue to talk about this topic on an ongoing basis. Even small acts of teasing should be stopped in their tracks. Don’t fail to correct this kind of behavior due to a child’s young age. This is exactly when to stop it. Teach your children how to be assertive. Encourage your children to express their feelings clearly, say no when they feel uncomfortable or pressured, stand up for themselves without fighting and walk away in dangerous situations. Stop bullying when you see it . Adults who remain silent when bullying occurs are encouraging it and making it worse. Listen and support children who speak up. Telling an adult about bullying is not easy for children. If a child comes to you seeking assistance with bullying, spend time listening to them and provide affirmation and support before taking actions. Read through and discuss the Bullying Checklist with your child as a resource. https://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tab-are-you-being-bullied.pdf Recognize the signs of depression. Youth who experience persistent bullying can develop signs of depression like sadness, isolation, poor concentration and sleeping problems. These symptoms can affect their relationships and school performance. Many children do not recognize or speak up about their emotional needs. Make sure to reach out and get them help when you see these signs. Tell your children to take action when they see bullying behavior. Tell them to speak out against the bully and inform a teacher if the behavior doesn’t stop. Bullying continues only when we allow it to. Communicate clear policies and consequences. Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences. Team up . Work with your PTA or local MHA affiliate to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. Help them develop programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments. Other Resources https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now You can find more helpful information about bullying at http://www.stopbullying.gov/. Check out this online Guide to Bullying and Cyberbullying. References “Bullying: Tips for Parents.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/bullying-tips-parents [1] Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and peer victimization at school: Perceptual differences between students and school staff. School Psychology Review, 36 (3), 361-382. [2] National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, School Crime Supplement , 2008–2009 [3] http://www.education.com/reference/article/why-kids-do-not-report-bullying/, 2009 [4] http://www.bullyingstatistics.org/content/bullying-and-depression.html [5] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/factors/index.html#morelikely, 2014 [6] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/factors/index.html [7] http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/yv-datasheet-a.pdf, 2011 data [8] http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/groups/lgbt/white_house_conference_materials.pdf




Bullying: LGBT Youth


While trying to deal with all the challenges of being a teenager, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) teens also have to deal with harassment, threats and violence directed at them on a daily basis. LGBT youth are nearly twice as likely to be called names, verbally harassed or physically assaulted at school compared to their non-LGBT peers. Their mental health and education, not to mention their physical well-being, are at-risk. LGBT Youth Facts Sheet: https://www.mhanational.org/sites/default/files/BACK%20TO%20SCHOOL%202014%20-%20Bullying%20and%20LGBT%20Youth.pdf How Is Their Mental Health Being Affected?

  • Substance Use: Gay, lesbian,bisexual and transgender youth are more than twice as likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol. [1]
  • Happiness: Only 37% of LGBT youth report being happy, while 67% of non-LGBT youth say they are happy. However, over 80% of LGBT youth believe they will be happy eventually, with nearly half believing that they will need to move away from their current town to find happiness. [1]
  • Self-Harm: With each instance of verbal or physical harassment, the risk of self-harm among LGBT youth is 2 ½ times more likely. [2]
  • Suicide: Gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual counterparts.[3]
How Is Their Education Being Affected? Gay teens in U.S. schools are often subjected to such intense bullying that they’re unable to receive an adequate education.
  • LGBT youth identified bullying problems as the second most important problem in their lives, after non-accepting families, compared to non-LGBT youth identifying classes/exams/grades. [1]
  • LGBT youth who reported they were frequently harassed in school had lower grade point averages than students who were less often harassed. [4]
  • One survey revealed that more than one-third of gay respondents had missed an entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe there.[4]
  • LGBT youth feel they have nowhere to turn. Sixty percent of LGBT students did not report incidents to school staff. One-third who reported an incident said the staff did nothing in response. [4]
What Can We Do To Help? Schools should offer a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone. When bullying is allowed to take place, it affects everyone. The 2011 National School Climate survey recommends: [4]
  • Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs). School clubs provide safe spaces and support networks for LGBT students. Students who attended schools with GSAs reported fewer homophobic remarks, more intervention from school personnel and a greater sense of connectedness.
  • Supportive educators. LGBT Students who report having a greater number of supportive staff (six or more) had higher GPAs.
  • Comprehensive bullying/harassment policies and laws. Students reported that school staff intervened twice as often in schools with comprehensive bullying/harassment policies.
Help End Bullying At Your School With The Following Actions:
  • Be alert to signs of distress.
  • Work with student councils to have programs on respect, school safety and anti-bullying.
  • Ask school personnel to have a discussion at an assembly or an after-school activity about gay prejudice.
  • Help start a Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) chapter at your local high school.
  • Arrange for a group like GLSEN to present bullying prevention activities and programs at your school.
  • Do encourage anyone who’s being bullied to tell a teacher, counselor, coach, nurse, or his or her parents or guardians. If the bullying continues, report it yourself.
Other Resources: National Association Of School Psychologists (301) 657-0270
www.nasponline.org American Psychological Association (202) 336-5500
www.apa.org Association Of Gay And Lesbian Psychiatrists (215) 222-2800
www.aglp.org The Gay, Lesbian And Straight Education Network (212) 727-0135
www.glsen.org The Trevor Project 1 (866)-488-7386
www.trevorproject.org Human Rights Campaign (800) 777-4723
www.hrc.org Human Rights Watch (212) 290-4700
www.hrw.org National Youth Advocacy Coalition (800) 541-6922
www.nyacyouth.org Parents, Families, And Friends Of Lesbians And Gays (202) 467-8180
wwwpflag.org Resources “Bullying: LGBT Youth.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/bullying-lgbt-youth. [1] Human Rights Campaign. (2013). Growing Up LGBT in America: HRC Youth Survey Report Key Findings. Washington, D.C. [2] IMPACT. (2010). Mental health disorders, psychological distress, and suicidality in a diverse sample of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths. American Journal of Public Health. 100(12), 2426-32. [3] CDC. (2011). Sexual Identity, Sex of Sexual Contacts, and Health-Risk Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12: Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. [4] Kosciw, J. G., Greytak, E. A., Bartkiewicz, M. J., Boesen, M. J., & Palmer, N. A. (2012). The 2011 National School Climate Survey: The experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth in our nation’s schools. New York: GLSEN.




Talking To Kids About School Safety


School violence and the resulting intense media coverage bring school safety issues to the forefront for all of us. However, children, in particular, may experience anxiety, fear, and a sense of personal risk. Knowing how to talk with your child about school safety issues could be critical in recognizing and preventing acts of violence, and will play an important role in easing fear and anxieties about their personal safety. To guide parents through discussions about school violence, Mental Health America offers the following suggestions:

  • Encourage children to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to prompt them by asking if they feel safe at school. When talking with younger children remember to talk on their level. For example, they may not understand the term “violence” but can talk to you about being afraid or a classmate who is mean to them.
  • Talk honestly about your own feelings regarding school violence. It is important for children to recognize they are not dealing with their fears alone.
  • Validate the child’s feelings. Do not minimize a child’s concerns. Let him/her know that serious school violence is not common, which is why incidents such as Columbine and Conyers, Georgia, attract so much media attention. Stress that schools are safe places. In fact, recent studies have shown that schools are more secure now than ever before.
  • Empower children to take action regarding school safety. Encourage them to report specific incidents (such as bullying, threats or talk of suicide) and to develop problem solving and conflict resolution skills. Encourage older children to actively participate in student-run anti-violence programs.
  • Discuss the safety procedures that are in place at your child’s school. Explain why visitors sign in at the principal’s office or certain doors remain locked during the school day. Help your child understand that such precautions are in place to ensure his or her safety and stress the importance of adhering to school rules and policies.
  • Create safety plans with your child. Help identify which adults (a friendly secretary, trusted teacher or approachable administrator) your child can talk to if they feel threatened at school. Also ensure that your child knows how to reach you (or another family member or friend) in case of crisis during the school day. Remind your child that they can talk to you anytime they feel threatened.
  • Recognize behavior that may indicate your child is concerned about returning to school. Younger children may react to school violence by not wanting to attend school or participate in school-based activities. Teens and adolescents may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn, or allow their school performance to decline.
  • Keep the dialogue going and make school safety a common topic in family discussions rather than just a response to an immediate crisis. Open dialogue will encourage children to share their concerns.
  • Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a child’s reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at school or at your community mental health center. Your local Mental Health Association or the National Mental Health Association’s Information Center can direct you to resources in your community.
The following behaviors are signs that a child may need help:
  • Lack of interest or poor performance in school
  • Absence of age-appropriate anger control skills
  • Seeing self as always the victim
  • Persistent disregard for or refusal to follow rules
  • Cruelty to pets or other animals
  • Artwork or writing that is bleak or violent or that depicts isolation or anger
  • Talking constantly about weapons or violence
  • Obsession with violent games and/or TV shows
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Carrying a weapon to school
  • Overreacting to criticism
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Bullying
  • Misplaced or unwarranted jealousy
  • Involvement with or interest in gangs
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
Source: “Talking To Kids About School Safety.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/talking-kids-about-school-safety.




Helping Children Cope With Loss


"Helping a child cope with loss is perhaps one of the most important roles an adult can play. In effect, you are helping that child develop skills that can last a lifetime." The death of a loved one is always difficult. For children, the death of a loved one can affect their sense of security. Like adults, children express loss by grieving. Yet children may not demonstrate the grief in the same manner as adults. Pre-schoolers usually see death as temporary; between the ages of 5 and 9, children begin to experience grief more like adults. NMHA provides the following information for parents, educators and others who may help a child overcome loss. Signs Of Grieving In Children & Adolescents

  • Sadness
  • Profound emotional reactions-anxiety attacks, chronic fatigue, anger, thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of anger, denial, shock and confusion
  • Extended depression with a loss of interest in daily activities and events
  • Boisterous play
  • Inability to sleep, nightmares, loss of appetite, prolonged fear of being alone
  • Withdrawal from friends
  • Sharp drop in school performance or refusal to attend school
  • Excessively imitating or asking questions about the deceased; repeated statements of wanting to join the deceased; inventing games about dying
  • Acting much younger for an extended period or reverting to earlier behaviors (e.g., bedwetting, baby talk, thumb-sucking)
  • Loss of concentration and/or irritability
  • Humiliation or guilt over personal failure to prevent loss of life
  • Frequent physical complaints such as stomachaches and headaches
Helping Children & Adolescents Grieve Long-term denial of death or avoidance of grief is unhealthy for children and may resurface later with more severe problems. Here is a list of things you can do to help a child overcome loss.
  • Children are concrete in their thinking. To lessen confusion, avoid expressions such as quot;passed on" or "went to sleep." Answer their questions about death simply and honestly. Only offer details that they can absorb. Don't overload them with information.
  • Children can be fearful about death and the future. Don't offer false comfort. Give them a chance to talk about their fears and validate their feelings. Offer a simple expression of sorrow and take time to listen.
  • Children are repetitive in their grief. Respond patiently to their uncertainty and concerns. It can take a long time to recover from a loss.
  • Children are physical in their grief. Watch their bodies, understand and support their play and actions as their "language" of grief. Offer reassurance.
  • Children grieve cyclically. Expect their grief to revisit in cycles throughout their childhood or adolescence. A strong reminder, such as the anniversary of a death, may reawaken grief. Make yourself available to talk.
  • Children need choices. Whenever possible, offer choices in what they do or don't do to memorialize the deceased and ways to express their feelings about the death.
  • Children grieve as part of a family. Expect children to mourn the deceased and the environment that existed before the death. Children may grieve the "changed" behavior of family and friends. Keep regular routines as much as possible.
Resources Help is available. Organizations and resources that can provide useful materials and referral information are listed below.
  • American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry. (800) 333-7636 http://www.aacap.org --- professional membership organization of psychiatrists provides resources for parents and teens.
  • Center for Mental Health Services. (800) 789-2647 http://www.mentalhealth.org/child. --- a Federal Government clearinghouse offering mental health English and Spanish language publications for families, children, and adolescents.
  • Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children and Families. (503) 775-5683 http://www.dougy.org --- a national support center for grieving children, teens, and families.
  • GriefNet. http://www.griefnet.org ---an Internet community of more than 30 Email support groups and two web sites, offering a moderated chat room for children who are in grief and their parents, lists of books and other library information, memorials, newsletters, a directory of suicide prevention and survivors' information, and more.
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (301) 443-4513 http://www.nimh.nih.gov ---the mental health research component of the National Institutes of Health, which provides printed and online materials.
  • UCLA School Mental Health Project. (310) 825-3634 http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu --- a resource center that provides schools and teachers with resources for helping children.
Brought to you by: “Helping Children Cope With Loss.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/helping-children-cope-loss.




Depression In Teens


It’s not unusual for young people to experience "the blues" or feel "down in the dumps" occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life. Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet. They are also forced to learn about the threat of AIDS, even if they are not sexually active or using drugs. Teens need adult guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When teens’ moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention — adolescent depression. Parents or caregivers must take action. Dealing With Adolescent Pressures When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.

  • Try to make new friends. Healthy relationships with peers are central to teens’ self-esteem and provide an important social outlet.
  • Participate in sports, job, school activities or hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than negative feelings or behaviors.
  • Join organizations that offer programs for young people. Special programs geared to the needs of adolescents help develop additional interests.
  • Ask a trusted adult for help. When problems are too much to handle alone, teens should not be afraid to ask for help.
But sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, teens become depressed. Many factors can contribute to depression. Studies show that some depressed people have too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Also, a family history of depression may increase the risk for developing depression. Other factors that can contribute to depression are difficult life events (such as death or divorce), side-effects from some medications and negative thought patterns. Recognizing Adolescent Depression Adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Recent surveys indicate that as many as one in five teens suffers from clinical depression. This is a serious problem that calls for prompt, appropriate treatment. Depression can take several forms, including bipolar disorder (formally called manic-depression), which is a condition that alternates between periods of euphoria and depression. Depression can be difficult to diagnose in teens because adults may expect teens to act moody. Also, adolescents do not always understand or express their feelings very well. They may not be aware of the symptoms of depression and may not seek help. These symptoms may indicate depression, particularly when they last for more than two weeks:
  • Poor performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feelings of being unable to satisfy ideals
  • Poor self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance abuse
  • Problems with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions
A quick, easy and confidential way to determine if you may be experiencing depression is to take a mental health screening. A screening is not a diagnosis, but a way of understanding if your symptoms are having enough of an impact that you should seek help from a doctor or other professional. Visit www.mhascreening.org to take a depression screening. Teens may experiment with drugs or alcohol or become sexually promiscuous to avoid feelings of depression. Teens also may express their depression through hostile, aggressive, risk-taking behavior. But such behaviors only lead to new problems, deeper levels of depression and destroyed relationships with friends, family, law enforcement or school officials. Treating Adolescent Depression It is extremely important that depressed teens receive prompt, professional treatment. Depression is serious and, if left untreated, can worsen to the point of becoming life-threatening. If depressed teens refuse treatment, it may be necessary for family members or other concerned adults to seek professional advice. Therapy can help teens understand why they are depressed and learn how to cope with stressful situations. Depending on the situation, treatment may consist of individual, group or family counseling. Medications that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist may be necessary to help teens feel better. Some of the most common and effective ways to treat depression in adolescents are:
  • Psychotherapy provides teens an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling to them. Psychotherapy also teaches them coping skills.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps teens change negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
  • Interpersonal therapy focuses on how to develop healthier relationships at home and at school.
  • Medication relieves some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed along with therapy.
When depressed adolescents recognize the need for help, they have taken a major step toward recovery. However, remember that few adolescents seek help on their own. They may need encouragement from their friends and support from concerned adults to seek help and follow treatment recommendations. Facing The Danger Of Teen Suicide Sometimes teens feel so depressed that they consider ending their lives. Each year, almost 5,000 young people, ages 15 to 24, kill themselves. The rate of suicide for this age group has nearly tripled since 1960, making it the third leading cause of death in adolescents and the second leading cause of death among college-age youth. Studies show that suicide attempts among young people may be based on long-standing problems triggered by a specific event. Suicidal adolescents may view a temporary situation as a permanent condition. Feelings of anger and resentment combined with exaggerated guilt can lead to impulsive, self-destructive acts. Recognizing The Warning Signs Four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warnings. Pay attention to these warning signs:
  • Suicide threats, direct and indirect
  • Obsession with death
  • Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
  • Giving away belongings
  • Dramatic change in personality or appearance
  • Irrational, bizarre behavior
  • Overwhelming sense of guilt, shame or rejection
  • Changed eating or sleeping patterns
  • Severe drop in school performance
REMEMBER!!! These warning signs should be taken seriously. Obtain help immediately. Caring and support can save a young life.
Helping Suicidal Teens
  • Offer help and listen. Encourage depressed teens to talk about their feelings. Listen, don’t lecture.
  • Trust your instincts. If it seems that the situation may be serious, seek prompt help. Break a confidence if necessary, in order to save a life.
  • Pay attention to talk about suicide. Ask direct questions and don’t be afraid of frank discussions. Silence is deadly!
  • Seek professional help. It is essential to seek expert advice from a mental health professional who has experience helping depressed teens. Also, alert key adults in the teen’s life — family, friends and teachers.
Looking To The Future When adolescents are depressed, they have a tough time believing that their outlook can improve. But professional treatment can have a dramatic impact on their lives. It can put them back on track and bring them hope for the future. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255). Other Resources The Boys Town National Hotline. (800)-448-3000. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 3615 Wisconsin Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20016-3007 Phone Number: (202) 966-7300 Email Address: clinical@aacap.org Website URL: www.aacap.org American Association of Suicidology 4201 Connecticut Avenue NW; Suite 310 Washington, DC 20008 Phone: 202-237-2280 Suicide Awareness/Voices of Prevention The Jed Foundation. Suicide prevention for college students. The Nine Line. (800) 999-9999. Covenant House crisis counseling for homeless and at-risk children. Source: “Depression in Teens.” Mental Health America, www.mhanational.org/depression-teens-0.





"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it"   Proverbs 4:23

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