Hello from The HUB!

The Community Networking Project team is here to connect you with K-12 school-based mental health events, activities, services, resources, webinars, trainings, policy and funding updates, and more happening here in Orange County (OC). We encourage you to submit items for future issues.
Orange County Youth Town Hall
On March 3, 2021, the OC community came together to listen and learn from youth, share experiences on the impact of COVID-19, and discuss resources to promote mental health among youth and families. 

A big shout out to the High School Youth Action Team from the City of Irvine for leading the event and sharing their advice and guidance to families and the community on how best to support their mental health and well-being. Here’s what they shared: 

  • “We need adults to realize that we, as teenagers, need time to rest and chill.”
  • “Adults do not always have to be problem solvers, sometimes they just have to be listeners.”
  • “When my mom notices me stressed or upset, she asks me ‘Do you need comfort or solutions?’ and I love that because sometimes we don’t need our parents to figure our problems out for us, we just need comfort.”
  • “When I did not know where to start on my own mental health journey, I took advantage of my school’s counseling department and they do a great job providing resources for youth, especially in a time when we are all so disconnected.” 

Want to listen to the Town Hall conversation with youth leaders, or learn more about available resources for youth and families? Contact Gabriela Rodriguez @ gabriela@reillygroupinc.com.
Suicide Prevention 101 for Parents: Recognizing the Signs and What to Do
April 7, 2021 from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m. 

This free webinar will provide information for parents about suicide prevention: learn about the warning signs of suicide, how to have a conversation with your child, and actions to take if your child is having suicidal thoughts. The webinar is provided by the California Mental Health Services Authority (CalMHSA)California Department of EducationDirecting Change, and Teen Line. 

Register for the webinar.
Mental Health Training Webinar Series Hosted by the Orange County Department
of Education

You won’t want to miss the upcoming, free Orange County Department of Education (OCDE) mental health trainings and webinars designed for teachers, school staff, and professionals working with students. Here’s the line-up: 

  • Suicide Prevention and Suicide Risk Assessment on April 13, 2021 from 10 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.:  This training will be an in-depth, clinical intervention training, recommended for individuals working in a clinical capacity, whether in a mental health, medical, or educational setting. The training covers identifying suicidal thoughts, risk assessment, suicide intervention models, safety planning, and the transfer of care. Register for the training.

  • Suicide Prevention 101 on April 15, 2021 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. OR from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m.: This webinar offers a non-clinical overview and instruction on suicide awareness. Recommended for educators, the webinar will provide training on how to identify suicidal thoughts in youth, assess risks for suicide, how to de-escalate, and links to professional services. There are two sessions being offered.  Register for the morning session. Register for the afternoon session.

  • Trauma-Informed Care on April 16, 2021 from 9:00 – 9:45 a.m.: One out of every four children attending school has been exposed to a traumatic event that can affect their learning and behavior. A child and adolescent mental health expert from Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) will present an overview of trauma, how it impacts students, and straightforward tips to engage students in a trauma-informed manner. Register for the webinar.

  • Anxiety and Stress Coping Strategies on April 22, 2021 from 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.: During this webinar, participants will learn strategies to help students cope with anxiety and gain new tools to help and support a child experiencing stress or anxiety. Register for the webinar.
Youth Action Talks – The Podcast Where Teens Talk About Teen Issues

The Youth Action Team from Irvine hosts a dynamic monthly podcast where they interview professionals, talk candidly about mental health, and provide wellness tips for taking care of yourself. In February, the podcast tackled loneliness and isolation and what youth can do to feel supported and connected. In March, the podcast shared the power and healing of mindfulness breathing techniques. Tune in to the next podcast here!
National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County (NAMI OC) Peer Connector 

Have you heard about the NAMI OC Peer Connector program? It is a powerful program that matches an individual in need with a trained mentor with lived experience for 12 weeks. The mentor can help support them to strengthen relationships with families, friends, and the community, and understand how to navigate and connect with community-based services. Sign up for Peer Connector! 
bplucky: The App Led by Students for Students 

bplucky is a health and wellness app specifically created by teens for teens to navigate emotions and challenges together and not feel alone in their struggles. bplucky’s mission is to lift up teens, recognize their value, and help create a safe, secure, and positive environment for them. 
Uplifting features that bplucky offers for teens include:
  • Share Your Story: Create and share a personal video on challenges, how they affect you, and what to do to work through them.
  • Plaza: Featuring a full collection of student videos, where teens can listen and learn from others sharing their stories. 
  • Surge:  Inspiring stories from public figures, celebrities, go-getters, athletes, musicians and more who share incredible stories made specifically for the bplucky audience.
  • The Lookout:  A deeper dive into finding helpful solutions to teen challenges with a one-stop center for mental health and wellness resources.
Look for and download  the new “bplucky” app found in both the Apple and Google app stores! 
Online Safety for Parents

The Center for Online Safety helps parents and educators teach kids how to be good digital citizens, set goals based on what’s most important, prioritize their time and, sometimes, even put down their screens. Download this document full of resources for parents to effectively ensure their child’s online safety and well-being. 
Free Technology Support for Families

Ever wish there was someone to call to fix technology glitches and help navigate health and mental health services and tools on your mobile device or computer?  Yes, we’ve all been there. 
Well, the Tech Wizards have arrived! Parents and caregivers can book a free call with them (in English or Spanish) now through June 30, 2021. Book a technology support call today!
The Tech Wizard is part of the RESET Toolbox, which is full of resources to minimize anxiety and build resilience in children and teens. The Tech Wizard provides one-on-one tech support and troubleshooting services for families to stay up-to-date and safe on their mobile devices and/or computers. Don’t miss out!
Each month, The HUB talks to leaders in OC. This month, we had a chance to catch up with Kim Turner, who is a parent and the Executive Director of Patrick’s Purpose Foundation. The Foundation aims to promote mental wellness in schools and create a student-driven culture of kindness through educational programs and initiatives.
Kim Turner
Executive Director, Patrick’s Purpose Foundation
HUB: What have you been doing to take care of your mental health during the pandemic?
Kim: I’ve been practicing gratitude to remind myself of all the good things and people in my life. I’ve also made an effort to see friends outdoors, socially distanced, to maintain important connections. Our family also got a puppy who brings us such joy!
HUB: How has the pandemic affected your children, or other children you know?
Kim: It has been tough for my kids, and all others, no question. Remote learning is not ideal for any age, from elementary school to college age. I encourage them to prioritize their mental health and I support their accomplishments. This pandemic will eventually be over, and I think our kids will be more resilient and creative because of it.
HUB: What’s your advice on how best to reach parents to let them know about school and community-based youth mental health services?
Kim: Schools and School District Offices are doing a better job of communicating with parents about youth mental health services, which is a result of the effects of the pandemic on our children’s mental health. Teen crisis lines have never been busier. CHOC has a Mental Health Resource Center and a great monthly newsletter on children’s mental health topics, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is also a good resource with local chapters and support.
HUB: What are you hopeful about?
Kim: In the last year, I’ve seen that the mental health of our kids is becoming a bigger priority in our communities and schools. I’m hopeful that this trend will continue, that every child who needs mental health support will receive it.
Got a school mental health leader in mind for The HUB Interview? Contact Gabriela Rodriguez @ gabriela@reillygroupinc.com.
Unprecedented New Funding Expected for California’s Schools

As California schools are slowly beginning to reopen, billions of dollars in federal and state funds have been committed to supporting kids and addressing the social-emotional stress of the past year.  According to EdSource, funding includes:

  • $15.3 billion in assistance to California’s K-12 schools to combat the strong impacts of the pandemic. 
  • $6.6 billion appropriated by Governor Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature to help districts recover from the pandemic’s impact.
Important Dates in April

May is Mental Health Month, and we’ve got you covered. The May HUB issue will feature May is Mental Health Month toolkits, including themes, messages, events and activities! 

We Want to Hear From You! Want to share an event that advances student mental health? Let The Hub help. Whether an event, training, webinar, grant, or a “Zoom” gathering, we can help spread the word! We encourage you to submit items for future issues.

Share The HUB – Please forward it on to educators, staff, administrators, parents, families and students in the school community and community organizations serving youth and families. 
The HUB is brought to you by The Reilly Group as part of the HCA Community Networking Project, and humble editors: Colleen Reilly, Gabriela Rodriguez, and Angela Castellanos. We look forward to serving you! 
 Contact the Community Networking Project
Funded by OC Health Care Agency (OCHCA), Behavioral Health Services, Prevention & Intervention, Mental Health Services Act/Prop. 63