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Balancing act: Promoting and supporting mental well being of High School students Syntero Sara Harrison-Mills LISW-S Susan Ortega MSW, LSW.

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Presentation on theme: "Balancing act: Promoting and supporting mental well being of High School students Syntero Sara Harrison-Mills LISW-S Susan Ortega MSW, LSW."— Presentation transcript:

1 Balancing act: Promoting and supporting mental well being of High School students Syntero Sara Harrison-Mills LISW-S Susan Ortega MSW, LSW

2 OBJECTIVES  Understanding age appropriate developmental expectations  Stressors affecting teens in the Dublin City Schools community  Impact of social media  Tips & Tricks for parents

3 Adolescence  “Adolescence” begins at the biological start of puberty and ends when an individual obtains stable, independent role in society  Time of unparalleled threat, change, challenge and opportunity  Nowhere else in human development do we encounter such a major transformation in such a short time in so many domains:  Bodies, Minds, Abilities, & Interpersonal Relationships

4 Physical Development  Physical changes  Accelerated growth, development of secondary sex characteristics  Hormonal changes  Mood swings, increased attraction to others  Insecurity/Self-consciousness  Early maturing girls-increased risk  Early maturing boys-increased advantage  Late maturing boys-increased risk

5 Cognitive Development  Increased ability for abstract thought  More future oriented  Most adolescents are self-absorbed  developmental stage NOT character flaw  feel others cannot understand them  Individuation & Identity formation

6 Social Development  Strong need to belong/fit in  Peer approval becomes more important, need for adult approval decreases  Social skills frequently lag behind mental and physical maturity  Experimentation as they search for social position  Socially vulnerable

7 Brain Development  Brain development is critical during this time period  Adolescents and adults use different mental processes to make social decisions  Ability to take into account someone else’s perspective in order to guide behavior is still developing in mid-late adolescence  Adolescents take more risks than children or adults (especially with peers)  Limbic system-highly active  emotional processing, reward processing  Prefrontal cortex-still developing  decision making, inhibiting inappropriate behavior, social interaction

8 Brain Development cont.  Environment can and does shape development of the adolescent brain  Synaptic pruning occurring at higher rate during adolescents (“fine tuning the brain”)  What is often seen as the problem with adolescents: heightened risk taking, poor impulse control, low self-consciousness, actually reflects changes in the brain which provide an excellent opportunity for education and social development.

9 Today’s Challenges  Parenting today’s teen is more difficult than in the past  Adolescents are growing up in a changing world  Increased stressors  Increased responsibility


11 DCS- In our own backyard.  Home  Friends  Peer Pressure  Mean Girls….and Boys  School  Academics 7.0  Athletics  Social media  Cyberbullying  Drugs/Alcohol/Tobacco  Increased access  Acceptance  Survival Stress -Intellectual, emotional or physical strain caused by change or demands stress-vd.html body-image

12 The culture of FINE.  F - freaked out  I - insecure  N - neurotic  E - emotional

13 Stress….in the eye of the beholder The Good….  Not all bad  Rise to the Challenge  Fight or Flight The Bad….  Long term stress  Exhaustion  Weakened Immune System  Overscheduling  “Stress” (2013)

14 The Ugly….  When it is too much  Ongoing exposure to violence  Bullying  Natural Disaster  Bodily harm/Rape  “Stress” (2013)

15 Enough is enough  Warning signs:  anxiety or panic attacks  a feeling of being constantly pressured, hassled, and hurried  irritability and moodiness  physical symptoms, such as stomach problems, headaches, or even chest pain  allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma  problems sleeping  drinking too much, smoking, overeating, or doing drugs  sadness or depression  self-injurious behavior

16 How to deal Overscheduling -Just say “NO” Be realistic Get reacquainted with Mr. Sandman Ready…..Set….Relax…. -Relaxation Response Everything in Moderation - You are what you eat - Exercise How you THINK affects how you FEEL which affects how you BEHAVE.

17 SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook Twitter SnapChat Instagram Reddit 4Chan Tumblr Vine Kik Pheed Wanelo

18 Prevalence  22% of teenagers log on to favorite social media sites more than 10 times per day  75% own a cell phone  Hypertexting = >120 messages per school day  Reported by 20% of surveyed teens  Hypernetworking= > 3 hours per school day on social media websites  Reported by 11.5% of surveyed teens  Geddes, (n.d)  Payne, 2010

19 Neurons that fire together wire together or Monkey see, monkey do. Hypertexters:  2x more likely to have tried alcohol  3.5x more likely to have had sex  41% more likely to have tried illicit drugs  55% more likely to have been in physical fight  90% more likely to report 4 or more sexual partners Hypernetworkers:  79% more likely to have tried alcohol  69% more likely to have had sex  85% more likely to have tried illicit drugs  94% more likely to have been in physical fight  60% more likely to report 4 or more sexual partners  Payne, 2010

20 Jury is still out. Pros  Creative outlets  Information access  Strength connections with family & friends  Collaboration for academic projects  Expressions of individuality Cons  Facebook depression  Mental Health concerns  Cyber Bullying  Impacted social skills  Reduced sense of accountability  Exposure to traumatic events  Sleep deprivation [FOMO]  Poor grammar Geddes, (n.d.)

21 Cyberbullying  65% students between 8-14 have been involved directly or indirectly in a cyberbully incident as cyberbully, victim, or friend.  79% students who were bullied did not tell anyone about it  Kids have harder time getting away from it  Can occur 24/7  Messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed to a very wide audience quickly  It can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source  Difficult to delete the message photos, etc. once distributed  Cyberbullying: there is a way out! Cyberbullying: there is a way out!

22 SEXTING: Sending of sexually suggestive text messages or photographs by cell phone or other electronic device.

23 SEXTING. Prevalence:  57% of teenagers admit to being asked to send a sext  28% followed through and sent a naked picture of themselves through text or email Why do it?  Feel invincible.  Naïve of consequences.  Exploration of sexual identities  Fear of rejection if they “just say no”  Kuhn, 2013

24 What’s the big deal?  Harassment and Bullying  Oftentimes, the non-legal consequences of sexting are just as serious as the legal consequences. The use of cell phones and social media means that insults, taunts, and private photos can now be quickly shared or made public. Jessica Logan, an Ohio teen, was harassed and taunted after her ex-boyfriend sent a nude photo of her to students at two local schools. She committed suicide shortly after she graduated from high school. After her death, Ohio lawmakers enacted a law, the Jessica Logan Act, requiring each school board to establish a policy prohibiting harassment, intimidation, and bullying, and providing for the suspension of students who engage in online harassment and cyber-bullying.  (Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 3313.666.)  Mince-Didier, (n.d.)

25 Legal Beagle.  Sexting- Felony in 2 nd degree  Child Pornography  Possession of child pornography, even if your teen is not in the picture  Distribution or sharing a photo, regardless of who is in the picture  Promoting means taking the picture, even if the teen takes it of herself/himself  May be required to register as a sex offender  Parents potentially liable  Kuhn, 2013  Mince-Didier (n.d.)

26 Digital Footprints are…… FOREVER.

27 “I HATE YOU… can you take me to the mall”? What can parents do?  Stay Involved  Phone Contract-example  Checking-In  Develop plan for “risky” situations  Individuation without Separation  What you can learn from LISTENING  Resist the urge to offer advice  Use open ended questions  Show interest in their life/their friends, etc.  Assist them with finding their “North Star”

28 Skills Development for Adolescents  Centering  Separating THINKING from FEELING  Making CONSCIOUS choices  Problem-Solving  Making and enforcing boundaries  Defining relationships  Dealing with emotions and stress Pipher, Mary “Reviving Ophelia”

29 Developmental Assets External Assets  Support  Empowerment  Boundaries & Expectations  Constructive Use of Time Internal Assets  Commitment to Learning  Positive Values  Social Competencies  Positive Identity


31 Dublin Counseling CenterNorthwest Counseling Services 299 Cramer Creek Court 1560 Fishinger Road Dublin, OH 43017Upper Arlington, OH 43221 614-889-5722 614-457-7876 For more information on school-based prevention services contact: Sara Harrison-Mills, MSW, LISW-S Child and Family Program Coordinator 614-457-7876 ext. 317

32 REFERENCES  Davidson, L. (2013, August). Moms you oughta know: 11 social media apps teens are using now. Today Moms. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from you-oughta-know-11-social-media-apps-teens-are-6C10833314 you-oughta-know-11-social-media-apps-teens-are-6C10833314  Geddes, J. (n.d.). The secret life of kids online: What you need to know. Parenting. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from,0  Kuhn, S. (2013, April). Sexting laws: What parents need to know. She Knows Parenting. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from sexting-laws sexting-laws  Mince-Didier, A. (n.d.). Teen Sexting in Ohio. NOLO. Retrieved February 26, 2014, from  Payne, E. (2010, November). Study links too much texting, social networking to health risks. CNN Tech. Retrieved February 28, 2014, from  Pipher, Mary. (1994). Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls  Search Institute (2006). 40 Developmental Assets® for Adolescents (ages 12-18)  Stress. (2013). Retrieved February 27, 2014, from  Zimmer-Gembeck, M. and Skinner, E. (November 2008). Adolescents coping with stress: Development and diversity. The Prevention Researcher, 15(4).

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