Each year we host a fun event where talking about mental wellness is easy, with refreshments, and the Winter Blues band. This year the Winter Blues theme is 22. We know that all youth educated with coping skills and knowledge benefit through:
- better people skills
- achieving at a higher level
- greater enjoyment of life
Why is the theme 22? In wellness research, the number of kids to teach in order to prevent one case of depression is 22.
Joe Gold, MD, will present the latest on how to prevent depression. Dr. Gold heads youth psychiatry for all the Partners HealthCare hospitals and co-chairs the Massachusetts pediatricians' task force on mental health.
Nadja Reilly, PhD, will introduce Joe after briefly explaining what prevention is and the practical activities that Adolescent Wellness facilitates through:
- social media and apps
- peer mentor programs
- traditional curricula
Dr. Reilly teaches doctoral students at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology and is associate director of its Freedman Center for Child and Family Development.
There is much to celebrate:
- our iGROW peer mentors awarded for 'Teen Leadership in Suicide Prevention'
- curricula we facilitate in use by 20+ schools helping 4,000 kids strengthen mental wellness
- many more kids use it from home on the web
Click here to join me at this year's Winter Blues!
-Bob Anthony, President
- Joseph Gold, MD
Chief Medical Officer,
Child and Adolescent Program
- Nadja Reilly, PhD
Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology
Did you know...
Your 7-14 year can receive treatment for depression without cost in the new COPE program at Mass General?
Is money a stressor for your teen?
HS teens help middle school age youth strengthen Mental Wellness
Peer mentors learn practical exercises for building resilience, then teach skills to others
There is an urgent need to make these activities better known. All kids practicing them benefit through better people skills, achieving at a higher level, and greater enjoyment of life (meta analysis of SEL research, 2011) and some cases of depression are actually prevented (meta analysis of preventing depression research, 2008). Typical activities to enhance mental wellness have been published in traditional curriculum format by Boston Children's Hospital and, for the youngest ages, as social media apps by the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology.
Why urgent? Kids need the skills now, before the peak age of symptom onset. For example, the Wellesley, MA superintendent of schools posted the latest results of its adolescent health survey. The Mental Wellness category is summarized with five indicators, each of which are now at their worst level for the six years reported:
- Life very stressful
- Depressive symptoms
- Seriously considered suicide
- Attempted suicide
Teen mentors are acting now. You can too!
Teens from Natick, Needham, Wellesley, and Weston are learning the wellness activities and identifying ways to introduce more kids to the resources. Parents can access the social media apps online at www.mspp.whyville.net.
What is the end result?
All kids can learn and practice skills that help build mental wellness (e.g., problem solving), the factors that may impede it, and how it can be promoted on a daily basis. This reduces stigma, matching mental wellness with physical health.
Kids become more able to balance the weight of life's worries. As a result, some symptoms of depression can be entirely prevented; symptoms still developing will be more readily noticed by the child.
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
- iGROW teen mentors
- Youth Advisory Board members