The tragic development of the past week with the school shooting in Ohio once again highlights how critical it is to really know our students and to “Notice, Talk and Act.” The goal of the seminar, “Typical or Troubled,” is to ensure that all adults who have roles in teen lives will have a comprehensive understanding of the fundamentals of adolescent emotional development and how to distinguish the difference between what might be considered normal behavior and when to be more concerned and to intervene.

The data tell us that suicide is the third leading cause of death for adolescents. We know that many mental health issues first present during adolescence and that more than 2 million teens age 12‐17 years old have been diagnosed with a major depressive disorder in the last year but that only approximately 50% receive care. However, teens report that over two thirds believe that treatment can help. We know that the earlier identification, intervention and referral are made the greater the likelihood treatment can make a difference. The standards to be used to determine when to intervene are: intensity, duration (lasting more than 2 weeks), severity of change in behavior and mood, and Impact on normal function and behavior (relationships with family and peers, school performance, activities).

Connection through close relationship is the number one anti risk factor. In addition, having solid knowledge of warning signs, symptoms, and risk factors, working together as a team in a school setting including parents as partners, and consulting with others when unsure can facilitate early identification, intervention and referral. The positive news is that treatment todayoffers a variety of options for therapy including medication. If we NOTICE, TALK and ACT we can help our teens successfully navigate the challenging developmental period called “Adolescence.”