Real teens leading the way
Yes, I binge-watched TV last week, always expecting that the next episode of a Netflix series titled '13 Reasons Why' would move beyond a script of 'life happens, then you die'. 13 episodes later, it had offered no teaching moment, no hint that we can exercise some coping and problem-solving skills to   manage even terrible challenges.

I am so glad that real life teens are exercising and teaching other teens the  thinking skills that were ignored by the Netflix script: self-awareness, communication, help-seeking, connectedness, and problem solving. In fact, April was a terrific month because students were so thoughtful. The students are incredibly busy at this time of the year and I am grateful for what they did to help AWI.  Here are some of their achievements this month that reduce suicidal ideation:
  • entering data from 991 pre-surveys of children in India. We will then measure changes in Knowledge, Help-seeking and Attitude that occur  from the Peer Leadership and Depression Prevention project.
  • coaching teen mentors in Dorchester, MA with information on depression awareness and prevention. The Dorchester teens will be addressing these themes in their 'Community Cafe' event.
  • introducing healthy coping exercises to youth ages 9-12 through the Wellesley library computer lab
  • surpassing the goal to raise $22,000 to benefit AWI. College student Natasha Snapper achieved this and then went on to complete her first marathon in 4 hours 28 minutes!
  • preparing to co-facilitate a Rotary Interact workshop that will teach other   teens from Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The online registration is  closed but teens can still sign-up by email.
The article below features someone working even earlier than the school age years to prevent suicide and depression. Her name is Margaret Hannah. Margaret has been appointed by Governor Baker to the  Special Legislative Commission on Behavioral Health Promotion and Upstream Prevention.  The Commission - the first of its kind in Massachusetts - is tasked with investigating evidence-based practices, programs and systems to prevent behavioral health disorders and promote behavioral health across the commonwealth.

Also, there are two fun events happening soon that benefit mental health and wellness promotion - I hope you can participate in one or both:
  • On Thursday, May 4, Rotary is celebrating a Taste
     of Wellesley
    at Elm Bank with Interact and Key Club teens helping - buy a ticket and enjoy.
  • A remarkable art competition by teen artists is exhibited at Page Waterman Gallery beginning May 12; a free reception is Mother's Day May 14. Auction proceeds are split between the teens and AWI. 
Happy Spring!

-Bob Anthony 
DID YOU KNOW...
First-time parent workshops are available?    
This is
 
the earliest depression prevention resource I have found.  Check it out and please let me know about other resources to keep healthy kids healthy in the birth through pre-school ages.  
Featured guest

Ironically, Massachusetts topped U.S. News & World Report's new ranking of the best states in America even as 10% even of its middle school age children report suicidal ideation. How might Massachusetts reduce that number?

One way is by more communities using the resources developed by Margaret Hannah.
She is the Executive Director of the Freedman Center for Child and Family Development at William James College.  For more than 25 years, Margaret has been designing and developing programs and facilitating leadership programs, parent support groups, and evidence based prevention programs.  

If symptoms already exist, 55 MA communities  have access to a comprehensive mental health referral service, INTERFACE, where callers receive a match to a provider who has openings, takes their insurance, and is conveniently located. In addition the INTERFACE counselors help individuals navigate and better understand the complex mental health system and offer follow-up support (https://interface.williamjames.edu).

To actually prevent sumptoms from starting, families can exercise  resources, such as:
- first-time parent workshops to build healthier infant/parent communication and parenting self-efficacy
- resilience building games, including the virtual Wellness Center for children ages 9-12. These and many other resources are available to offer skills and create protective factors to buffer against the risk factors of depression and suicidal ideation. 

If these resources exist, why does every middle school classroom have a child reporting suicidal ideation? Few, if any, communities  intentionally promote the prevention resources available. Few residents are aware of what is available to prevent depression in a son or daughter. For example, my town of Wellesley sees just 17% of new parents attending the remarkable parent workshops available at William James College located in the adjoining town.   Increasing participation requires making it a priority and applying a  little creative problem solving.  

Donations to AWI 

You may donate to AWI  through this link.  
Alex Kung introducing Whyville

Your donation to AWI is greatly appreciated. AWI leverages
every dollar effectively, providing curricula and train-the-trainer workshops to adults and youth.

C
hecks may be made 
payable to Adolescent Wellness, Inc. and mailed to 103 Old Colony Road, Wellesley, MA 02481. 
 
AWI is a 501c3 non-profit and donations are tax deductible.
 
You can also select Adolescent Wellness, Inc. to support through purchases at smile.amazon.com.
AWI Volunteers

The people who make it happen!
  • Bob Anthony - President
  • Chip Douglas - Chairman
  • Phyllis Gimbel - Director
  • Calvin Place - Director
  • Lisa Siegel - Director
  • Penny Wells - Director
  • Frank Hays - Marketing
  • Cindy Hurley - Wellesley HS counselor
  • Hannah Lee - Youth Advisory
  • Lindsay Canaday - Youth Advisory
  • Alex Kung - Whyville workshop leader



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Bob Anthony | Adolescent Wellness, Inc. | 781.727.8617 | BobAnthony@AdolescentWellness.org | www.AdolescentWellness.org
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