Welcome back

I hope your return to school has been smooth and that you found time during the summer to restore your energy, refuel your batteries, and recalibrate your work/life balance.  September can be a very vexing month for families and youth.  Getting back into the structure and demands of school can be challenging.  Remembering to take it one day at a time and keeping focus on wellbeing can help.

This week marks National Suicide Prevention Week.  Youth Health Connection originated as the Adolescent Suicide Prevention Project in 1884.  In 2007, ASPP merged with the South Shore Partnership for Health to more fully address the mental health and physical health needs of youth and families.  I want to remind all of you how vital and powerful a role you play in the lives of those with whom you work.  Suicide is the third leading cause of death in adolescents.  We do know we can make a difference through education of depression awareness, risk factors and warning signs for suicide, connection to a trusted adult, early intervention and referral.  There is no stigma in reaching out and not keeping a secret about mental illness.  Through good clinical research we know about risk factors and warning signs of depression and suicidal thought and behavior.

There has been a great deal of attention recently paid to the issue of bullying and its devastating effect on everyone.  No one escapes the impact of bullying, the bully, the bullied, the bystander, the teacher, the family.  We are dedicating the focus of YHC this academic year to bullying.  We will be hosting speakers throughout the year who help us gain an understanding about bullying and ways to respond.  We know that climate and culture, policy, procedure and programs all play a role in helping communities and schools confront the issue of bullying.  The newly enacted legislation dictates we address the issue.  Our moral compass and goal of preventing pain and suicide direct us to come together and form a collaboration.  Through this we empower ourselves and our neighbors to make a difference and honestly address bullying and save lives.