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Adolescent Wellness, Inc. (AWI) 
The SADD annual conference trained teen mentors from 32 states

Teen mentors from 32 states attended the SADD conference
AWI Newsletter
August, 2014 

In This Issue
- Did you know?
- Self regulation
- Hot Topic
- AWI Volunteers

Quick Links


'Growth mindset' is the term used by psychologist Carol Dweck to describe students with healthy coping skills. Educators are asking, 'How might we help the others'? 


Perhaps a third of students have ineffective or unhealthy ways to manage worries (a 'fixed mindset', to borrow another description from Dweck). This is important to educators because mood affects achievement; depression is a primary factor in dropping out of school.


The Summer Institute for Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association (MSSAA) is an annual conference covering key issues faced by educators state-wide. The membership (which includes superintendents, principals, and program directors) also prioritizes a 'Hot Topic' on which to focus for the year. This year, it is mental health, according to association president, Dana Brown.  The related conference session introduced goals, concerns and new tools for prevention (download by clicking here)  and improving referral for treatment.  I developed notes during the 'Hot Topic' discussion which you may read in the newsletter article with that title.


I also presented at the annual conference of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), along with Gloria Rapport, whom is one of the creators of the creative problem solving model called PIP Problems-Ideas-Plans. SADD is a national organization; teen mentors from 32 states attended the conference. My favorite quote from one of the teens assessing our presentation reads, "I used to think there wasn't an easy way to solve worrying problems / organize thoughts when worrying.  Now I think making a plan is easy and helps organize thoughts."


While in DC at the conference, Gloria and I also met with two remarkable college students, both former mentors who are now on the SADD Leadership Council. They are defining a toolkit with exercises for kids to use  for worry relief.  Adolescent Wellness (AWI) is helping SADD create this toolkit for use by their several thousand chapters across the country.


The SADD toolkit development is one of three elements of the 22 project which AWI launched earlier this year. The two other elements are facilitating implementation of the Break Free From Depression curriculum in schools beyond Massachusetts  (for which we must await the school year to know whether plans will be enacted) and to deliver training for adults on the virtual Wellness Center (  For this last element, our friends from The Home From Little Wanderers participated in a design session with the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and will review a pilot webinar beginning next week!  We hope to see this self-training resource available to everyone before school starts in September.


A final note - the Rotary club of Wellesley launched a Wellness Project last year.  Teen mentors from our  iGROW program joined with newly-trained mentors to create a wellness toolkit for middle school ages, present a parent workshop, and present two workshops at the Boys and Girls Club of Waltham.  The Rotary Wellness Project is expanding this year - details in the next newsletter!


Best regards, 

-Bob Anthony, President
Did you know...


The initial contact for referral to a mental health specialist is the pediatrician?  In turn, they are supported by MCPAP, the Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project.  A similar service to support school nurses is being piloted. 

Massachusetts school nurses report about 460,000 student encounters monthly, of which 28,000 are Behavioral Health interventions.

Self-regulation is an essential life skill; there is interaction among Emotions, Thoughts, Behavior, and Relationships

Thoughts drive emotions, relationships and behavior
Exercises  to improve how we cope with worries are available for all ages
'New Dad' classes  available!
During the Winter Blues event in January, Dr. Joe Gold, Medical Director at McLean Hospital, discussed a longitudinal study confirming depression prevention by coaching parents and newborns on basic coping skills, including awareness and communication. Actively practicing these skills with your newborn is becoming easy as well. Pediatricians and psychologists observe newborn behavior and provide parental coaching through new parent classes are hosted at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.

The latest invitation is a new Dad's class - check it out: ( 
'Hot Topic' discussion at the Summer Institute
The annual conference for school leaders offered the opportunity to discuss the top area of interest identified by the membership this year, mental health. Specifically, they wanted to know about resources for prevention and for  directing families to treatment.

During the Massachusetts Secondary School Administrators Association conference, a session titled 'Hot Topic' invited discussion on Adolescent Mental Health: Coping & Prevention Strategies. In the discussion, related comments were:
  • Stress management
  • We are doing a lot; are we doing enough?
  • Increasing adult comfort / knowledge
  • Providing better coping skills for kids
  • Networking for knowledge & resources
  • Is there an increase and, if so, why is there an increase in symptoms? (NOTE: Statistics for each year are compiled in the school nurse report, Essential School Health Services (


Examples of new thinking as a result of the discussion included:

  • understanding the challenges were universal (not limited to certain schools)
  • identifying existing resources that could be much better leveraged (ex. school nurses),
  • identifying resources to facilitate referral of kids with symptoms
  • activities to improve and coping skills are available for all kids 
  • resources can be used during class time but are also available for direct access by kids outside of school
AWI volunteers


The people who make it happen; we are very grateful to the current AWI volunteers listed below:
  • Bob Anthony - President
  • Vivian Dole - iGROW
  • Bill Russell - Director
  • Anthony Schweizer - Chair
  • Calvin Place - Director, Winter Blues co-host
  • Chip Douglas - Director
  • John Seeler - PIP documentation
  • Roberta Boylen - Winter Blues co-host
  • Kathy Curley
  • Lisa Siegel - iGROW
  • Melisa Hughes
  • Carrie Sandstrom - SADD mentor representative
  • Rev. Pam Emslie
  • iGROW teen mentors
  • Youth Advisory Board members
Adolescent Wellness, Inc. | 103 Old Colony Road | Wellesley, Massachusetts 02481 |
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