Now is the Time...
Children are the Priority,
Change is the Reality,
Collaboration is the Strategy
Promoting Mental Health...
Improving Academics! http://tinyurl.com/MHacademicsVideo
Recognizing the early signs of mental illness isn’t always easy. There’s no blood test results and (usually) no tumors to magically explain seemingly strange behavior. Because of this, it typically takesten years from the time symptoms first appear until someone gets a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, according to Mental Health America.
For children experiencing mental health issues, one of the most important early intervention tools can be parents. To learn more about how parents identify early signs of mental health issues, we teamed up with Mental Health America and asked parents when they knew it was time to get their child mental health care.
Of course, every person is different, and mental illnesses manifest in many different ways. But the stakes are too high to turn the other way.
Here’s what parents had to say:
1. “When I realized his teacher and I couldn’t be the only two people who saw there was more going on than a boy struggling in school. I was torn on what to do because most people in my life minimized my complaints. I wasn’t sure a label was what we wanted, but I just wanted school life to be a little less difficult for him. So if I need a label to do that, then I embrace it.” — Raelene St Clair
2. “When my son would take two hours at the toy store because he was too scared of making the wrong choice.” — Christy Vogel
3. “My child’s temper tantrums were not ordinary temper tantrums. They lasted anywhere between 30 minutes to four-to-six hours, and could be violent.” — Dionne Driscoll
4. “I knew it was time to get help for my son when he was either crying or angry for most of the day. The daycare was calling us every day to come in because his behavior was out of control. He was only 4.” — Anna Davis Gode
5. “He felt like his lungs were sinking in and his mind was spinning.” — Karrie Hale-Sanders
6. “After listening to him talk, I turned to him and asked, ‘Do you ever feel like you’ll implode under the weight of your own thoughts?’ His answer was simply, ‘Yes.'” — Amanda Talma
7. “Both my kids inherited my mental illness genes. As soon as I recognized similar symptoms in them, we started diagnoses and treatment options. I was always honest with them about mine and explained to them what I was going through as soon as they were old enough to understand. Mental illness is something we balance together in our family.” — Tracy Bryan
8. “In the back of my mind I knew he was struggling but never wanted to deal with it — until I witnessed him have a breakdown.” — Donnette D Watson
9. “When I noticed major changes in his personality. Then he had a breakdown, which landed him two states away in a mental health facility. In hindsight, that was the beginning of hope.” — Beverly Galwey
Check out this brief Video https://youtu.be/ZTt-v5FYpds
Dear Colleagues and Families,
Last week’s killings of two black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota, and the tragic shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, have shaken the nation. We are all still hurting over these and other recent heinous acts.
As painful as these events are, I strongly believe that as New York City educators and parents, we have a moral obligation to address the difficult questions about race, violence, and guns, and to engage students in the critical work of healing our country. We must not avoid these tough conversations—they are necessary if we hope to build a just society for all.
I am writing to ask you to partner with us on this important work. I encourage you to come together in our offices, classrooms, teacher prep rooms, principals’ offices, cafeterias, playgrounds, and auditoriums—and start a conversation. Discuss the recent events, and help each other process the anger that is gripping our communities. Listen to and support one another. The goal should be to open up lines of communication, build bridges, and foster respect.
Educators and parents should also raise these issues with children, taking care to have thoughtful conversations. Create a safe space for students to talk about their concerns and ask questions. Listen to their fears, share as much information as children are able to handle, and answer their questions with honesty, sensitivity, and empathy.
If children are having a difficult time, limiting exposure to television and the news may reduce their stress. Parents should try to keep routines as normal as possible; children flourish and feel most secure with predictability. Reassure children that although there are people who do bad things, the world is a good place, and that their families will do everything possible to keep their children safe. There are helpful resources for talking to children about violence on our Crisis Support webpage.
However, as educators we must go beyond talking. To support informed action, the Department of Education will implement a new social studies curriculum, which includes robust lessons integrating themes of tolerance, civil rights, and equity.Perspectives for a Diverse America, a literacy-based curriculum developed by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project, is another useful resource.
Most importantly, I ask that you share any ideas that support uniting our communities. For our teachers: Do you have a lesson plan that sensitively addresses these issues that your colleagues across the City could benefit from seeing? For our principals: Has your school developed a meaningful relationship with your local police precinct? Our recent Team Up! Tuesdayevent, which hosted police officers at more than 300 elementary schools to cement bonds, was a tremendous success with students. As we consider expanding this program to other grades, I would appreciate hearing what events you think would be most meaningful in bringing our communities together. Please also let me know about other programs or partnerships that are fostering teamwork and inclusion.
Thank you for beginning these important conversations with our students, families, teachers, and school staff. Only by working together can we create safe, equitable, vibrant spaces in which our children can learn and thrive.