Palmyra schools will welcome speakers on mental health for presentations to students and parents.
The seminars – hosted through the organization Minding Your Mind – will be offered in three, 90-minute segments during and after school. The parent presentation will be held at Delaware Avenue School on Wednesday, Oct. 26, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Ttwo student assemblies will occur at the middle and high schools on Friday, Oct. 28.
The district initiative is called “Just Talk About It,” and will include two student presenters and a clinician.
“The program features a young adult speaker who will share ther personal mental-health story, as well as a clinician that discusses the warning signs of stress, anxiety, depression and suicide prevention,” said Lianne Kane, director of student services.
Minding Your Mind will include its student mental-health program, “Changing Minds: Stories Over Stigma.” Licensed social worker Sheila Gillin is the clinician presenter. She has been an adolescent psychotherapist for more than 15 years and will inform students and parents about the various warning signs of mental illness. At the end of the parent presentation, there will be a question-and-answer session.
“Gillin has a clinical counseling practice where she provides individual, family and group counseling to a broad range of clients, including adults, adolescents and children,” Kane noted.
Kane saw the need for mental-health presentations when she noticed how more students were struggling with the issue.
“We’ve always had presentations for parents, but there has recently been an increase in students being diagnosed with mental illness,” she explained. “We want to provide more opportunities to help parents be aware of serious issues and find help.”
Kane said it’s important for students to deal with mental-health issues as soon as possible, so it’s easier to focus on school.
“If these issues are identified early, it will help with school activities and allow students to learn and succeed,” she noted.
Kane has done research to implement intervention and provide help so students can experience success. She believes the presentations will be influential to students and their families.
“Through the student presenters sharing their stories, we are providing evidence-based education on mental health challenges to our community,” she pointed out. “We also hope that this will create safe communication spaces to discuss signs and symptoms often associated with mental health-challenges and how to address them.
“As a district, we want to educate the whole child and offer ways to help parents with this difficult topic.”