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Mental Health Webinar Series

In light of the increasing incidence of mental health challenges among young people, ACT for Youth sponsored a series of webinars for youth-serving organizations funded by the New York State Department of Health. These webinars were recorded in 2021 and 2022.

Mindfulness-Based Programs for Stress and Health (1:23:33)

Joshua Felver

Mindfulness-Based Programs (MBPs) can have wide-ranging health benefits. In this presentation, Joshua Felver describes the relationship between stress, MBPs, and health in young people. Viewers gain a better understanding of the relationship between stress and mindfulness, increase their familiarity with core components of MBPs for adolescent health, and participate in a brief experiential activity with one evidence-based program. Joshua Felver, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Syracuse University Department of Psychology.

You Can Help a Student: Recognizing When Adolescent Students Are Struggling and How to Help Them (52:43)

Diana Cusumano

In this webinar, Diana Cusumano describes the current landscape of youth mental health in the US. She identifies signs of distress in youth and describes how to respond particularly as these signs relate to potential suicide. Diana identifies where to go when professional help is needed and how to find additional resources. Diana Cusumano, LMHC, NCC, RYT, directs JED Campus and Wellness Initiatives.

The Cutting Edge: Understanding and Addressing Non-Suicidal Self-Injury in Youth (58:30)

Janis Whitlock

Non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) is a common and yet under-recognized phenomenon. Much has been learned in the past fifteen years about what NSSI is, why it "works," and its most common recovery trajectory. In this presentation, Janis Whitlock reviews the characteristics of NSSI and highlights several factors that are influential in recovery. She concludes with a discussion of implications for intervention and treatment. Janis Whitlock, PhD, directs the Youth Risk and Opportunity Lab at Cornell University.

Youth Mental Health 2021 Return to "Normal"? (58:39)

Deb Levine

The statistics are alarming: Our kids are experiencing high rates of anxiety, depression, and substance use during COVID. There has been significant learning loss, and young people's development has been disrupted for an entire year. Youth of color living in poverty have been most affected during the pandemic: they may have lost family members, experienced severe financial insecurity, been sheltered at home taking Zoom classes in overcrowded living situations. Our young people are also witnessing the nation's deep inequities in income, access, and discrimination based on race. We need to be ready as we emerge from this pandemic to help our youth access mental health services and support in new ways, using digital tools, assessments, and linkages to quality care. This webinar covers the toll the pandemic has taken on our young people and the lessons learned from post-Katrina times that can be applied as we begin to emerge into our new now. Founder of YTH (youth+tech+health), Deb Levine, MA, is a health educator and innovator working to improve youth health and wellness.