Why kids and teens may face far more anxiety these days

When it comes to treating anxiety in children and teens, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are the bane of therapists’ work. “With (social media), it’s all about the self-image — who’s ‘liking’ them, who’s watching them, who clicked on their picture,” said Marco Grados, associate professor of psychiatry and clinical director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Everything can turn into something negative … [K]ids are exposed to that day after day, and it’s not good for them.” Anxiety, not depression, is the leading mental health issue among American youths, and clinicians and research both suggest it is rising.  READ MORE

Brookshire Elementary Hosts Nemours Florida Prevention Initiative First Family Night.

Recently, with funding support from the Foundation of Orange County Public Schools (OCPS) and Winter Park Health Foundation, the Nemours Florida Prevention Initiative (FPI) hosted 60 people for the first of many Nemours Family Nights events in the local community. The objective is to address mental health and behavior issues which many young people face today.

Parents from Brookshire Elementary had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Lisa Spector, Nemours Children’s Hospital’s chief of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and learn about childhood anxiety, ADHD and other mental/behavioral disorders, in addition to learning about positive behavior management strategies.

During this first Nemours Family Night, students participated in FPI planned activities such as art therapy, guided imagery, music and movement, yoga, and a Nemours “5-2-1-Almost None” physical activity obstacle course. 521AN is Nemours’ way to promote a healthier lifestyle for children and families. It’s based on a daily formula to help parents and educators teach healthy habits to children. Students also had the chance to learn about healthy living messaging through GeoMotion music videos to promote 521AN and Sometimes/Anytime foods and activities.

Support Your Child’s Mental Health

Mental health is an important part of the overall health for children and adolescents as much as it is for adults. Learn how you can support your children, including how to spot warning signs for declining mental health and knowing when it is time to seek help from a health professional.

Talking to Kids About Tragic News

Tragic news is reported every day. Sometimes these events can cause distress to people of all ages. Although you may try to avoid having your children see upsetting reports about violence or natural disasters, you can’t always be successful. Use these resources to help you navigate a difficult conversation:

Supportive Resources for the Release of the Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why – Season 2

The Netflix series, 13 Reasons Why season two, will be released Friday, May 18th. The first season, which was extremely popular with teens and young adults, followed the story of a high school girl’s (Hannah) suicide, including scenes involving bullying, sexual assault and suicide portrayal. In season two, we have learned that the show will focus more on themes of recovery as the school community copes with the aftermath of a suicide loss, suicide attempt and sexual assault.

If you are seeking information to share with educators, students and families, the Memphis Mid-South Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will support you with a number of helpful tools and resources including:

  • AFSP and 13 Reasons Why – AFSP’s web page providing guidance and resources for teachers, parents and young adults who view the show.
  • Teens and Suicide: What Parents Should Know – AFSP’s web page that you can link to in your parent newsletters, website and social media accounts.
  • More Than Sad – AFSP’s national suicide prevention education program for middle and high school faculty, parents and students.
  • After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools – Developed in collaboration with the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, this free in-depth guide offers best practices and practical tools in the aftermath of a suicide that impacts the school community.
  • Seize the Awkward – A national peer-to-peer PSA campaign that helps teens and young adults be more comfortable talking to each other about mental health and when to get help. Includes humorous videos and vlogs from YouTube stars to make the topic more approachable. Great to use as a discussion tool in classroom or in peer-to-peer outreach efforts.

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day is Thursday, May 10, 2018! This annual event raises awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and its impact on their healthy development.

The national theme for Awareness Day 2018 is Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma. It will focus on the importance of an integrated approach to caring for the mental health needs of children and families who have experienced trauma.

For more information, click here.

Holiday Mental Health Tips

The holidays are an exciting time of year for kids, and to help ensure they have a happy holiday season, here are some safety and mental health tips from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

  • Try to keep household routines the same. Stick to your child’s usual sleep and mealtime schedules when you can, which may reduce stress and help your family enjoy the holidays.
  • Take care of yourself both mentally and physically.  Children and adolescents are affected by the emotional well-being of their parent or caregivers. Coping with stress successfully can help children learn how to handle stress better, too.
  • Make a plan to focus on one thing at a time. Try a few ideas to balance the hustle and bustle of things like shopping, cooking, and family get-togethers during the holidays: Stop and pay attention to what is happening at the moment, focus your attention on one thing about it ,and notice how you are feeling at the time. Withhold immediate judgment, and instead be curious about the experience.
  • Give to others by making it an annual holiday tradition to share your time and talents with people who have less than you do. For example, if your child is old enough, encourage him or her to join you in volunteering to serve a holiday meal at your local food bank or shelter or sing at a local nursing home. Help your child write a letter to members of the armed forces stationed abroad who can’t be home with their own family during the holidays.
  • Remember that many children and adults experience a sense of loss, sadness or isolation during the holidays.  It is important to be sensitive to these feelings and ask for help for you, your children, family members or friends if needed.
  • Kids still need to brush their teeth twice a day!
  • Don’t feel pressured to “over-spend on gifts.”  Consider making one or two gifts. Help your child make a gift for his or her other parent, grandparents, or other important adults and friends. Chances are, those gifts will be the most treasured ones and will teach your child many important lessons.
  • Most important of all, enjoy the holidays for what they are — time to enjoy with your family. So, be a family, do things together like sledding or playing board games, and spend time visiting with relatives, neighbors and friends.

May Health Celebrations


mental health weekChildren’s Mental Health Awareness Week, May 1-7
This year’s them is “Healthy Families, Resilient Children: Mental Health is a Family Affair!”  Be sure to celebrate your CHILL couselor, providing mental health services in Winter Part Consortium schools. #childrensmentalhealthmatters


thank-a-teacherTeacher Appreciation Week, May 2-6
Everyday teachers touch the lives of millions of children and make an impact beyond the boundaries of the classroom with their hard work. Celebrate these real-life superheroes during Teacher Appreciation Week. #thankateacher


SLHDwebSchool Nutrition Employee Week, May 2-6
Between preparing healthy meals for America’s students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies and offering service with a smile, school nutrition professionals are true heroes!
School Lunch Hero Day, May 6, 2016
Click here for ideas to celebrate your school lunch hero and share your pictures with us! #SchoolLunchHeroDay


screen free weekScreen Free Week, May 2-6
Unplug from digital entertainment and spend your free time playing, reading, daydreaming, creating, exploring, and connecting with family and friends.  #ScreenFreeWk


nursing weekNational Nurses Week, May 2-12
Celebrate the important role nurses play in health care during National Nurses Week#NursesWeek
National School Nurse Day, May 11 
Celebrate your school nurse who serves as a healer, comforter, educator, mentor, trainer, and role model. #schoolnurseday


walk bike

National Bike to School Day, May 4
Join Healthy Central Florida as they lead “Walk and Roll” Wednesday on National Bike to School Day. #biketoschoolday


Additional Celebrations

Want to celebrate more health observances?  Click here.

Park Rx Day – April 24, 2016

Give yourself and your family the gift of good health by getting outdoors in a park near you on National Park Rx Day on April 24, 2016. Sunday, April 24, 2016 will be the first ever National Park Rx Day! It is a day celebrated across the United States to promote the growing movement of prescribing parks and nature to patients to improve human health. National Park Rx Day encourages everyone to see visits to parks and public lands as very important parts of their health. Last fall, the U.S. Surgeon General released a call to action to promote walking and walkable communities. National Park Rx Day builds on this call to action and provides citizens with parks and green spaces to promote public health.

Eight reasons to get outdoors and enjoy a walk in the park on Park Rx Day!

  1. Being in nature can improve your mood.
  2. Having access to parks can increase physical activity and combat obesity.
  3. Parks and their health benefits can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of who you are and where you come from.
  4. Contact with nature through parks improves all people’s physical, mental and spiritual health.
  5. Parks foster social connections which are vital to community cohesion and contribute to social well-being.
  6. For children, parks foster active play, which is associated with physical, cognitive and social benefits.
  7. For adolescents, parks improve mental and social health during what is often a challenging time of life.
  8. Park use is linked to physical and mental health benefits among adults, especially older adults.

Find Your Park for a healthier you! It might be closer than you think. You can also share your story so others can see what finding your park means to you.

Teens With Upbeat Friends May Have Better Emotional Health

Group Of High School Students Giving Piggybacks In CorridorPediatricians and child behavior specialists who work with teens know that adolescence is an incredibly important time for social growth. Yet these years can be fraught with anxiety for the parents of teens. How will you know if your moody teen is hanging out with the right people? Which friends might be a bad influence? How can you help your son or daughter develop healthy relationships?

Recent research has addressed some aspects of these questions. One study entitled “Spreading of healthy mood in adolescent social networks,” published this year in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, investigated whether a teen whose friends have a healthy mood is less likely to be depressed. It also looked at how emotionally healthy friends affected a teen’s recovery from depression. Basically, the researchers wanted to find out: is a good mood contagious?

The study involved roughly 3,000 teens. Each study volunteer completed two surveys, six months apart, in which he or she listed up to five male and five female friends. Each teen was then followed over time, to see how his or her mood changed.

One of the interesting things about this study is that these researchers defined depression as a behavior, not necessarily as a disease that someone could get. This allowed them to do their statistical analysis a little differently from previous studies looking at the same subject matter, and it uncovered the potential power of positively minded friends.

The investigators found that having a social network made up of friends with a healthy mood cut a teenager’s probability of developing depression in half over a 6- to 12-month period. It also significantly improved the chances of recovering from depression for teens who already suffered from it. While the data don’t show a direct cause and effect, this study does suggest that having friends with a healthy mood may reduce the risk of depression and make it a little easier to recover from depression should it occur.