Local parents concerned for their teens, organize panel for their mental health

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — A mental health forum Thursday night was already on the calendar, but it comes at a time when many are thinking and talking about teen mental health, after the mass shooting Wednesday afternoon at a school in Parkland, Fla.

Parents in the Blue Valley School District are stepping up to help teens and their families deal with the stresses of adolescence. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Hilltop Conference Center at 143rd and 69-Highway.

It was organized by a parent group called ‘BV Well’.

“Our hope is to educate and support families in the BV area as they navigate mental health and wellness with their children,” the group explained. Mandy Shoemaker is the chairwoman of the BV Well group. She says Thursday night’s panel will discuss the theme: ‘Youth Stress and Anxiety.’ Scroll down for more participants.

Since the beginning of this year, there have been 18 school shootings. Since the Columbine back in 1999, there have been 25 fatal school shootings nationwide.

Tragedies like this cause a lot of anxiety for teens everywhere as many go to school Thursday worried, wondering if it could happen at their school.

Blue Valley Well is a group of local parents who want to address the issues teens today face – such as being tired, not eating well, dealing with massive amounts of homework while trying to fit in with their peers.

There`s pressure to try drugs and have sex, some are bullied both physically and online, and many become depressed and consider taking their own life or the lives of others.

There are signs parents can look for to better understand if their teen is struggling with their mental health, and resources parents and teens can use to get help.

This month on FOX4 News, John Holt sat down with teens who have been affected by suicide and mental health. Their parents and mental health professionals were there to observe and help facilitate. To watch that conversation, click here and share it to keep this important conversation going.

“As you know, we are feeling quite the urgency here and we intend to focus on several things that were mentioned in your piece, such as lifting the stigma about depression, mental illness, etc. This is a role that the Foundation can take on a little bit easier than the school district,” said Shoemaker.

Visit fundbv.org/bvwell for more information and follow them on Facebook: Facebook.com/bvwell.

Youth Stress and Anxiety
Welcome Mandy Shoemaker, BV Well Chair
Introduction of Panelists Karen Mulligan, Children’s Mercy, MSW, LCSW, LSCSW

Panel Discussion Facilitators:

  • Dr. Libby Milkovich and Dr. Allison Zoromski
  • Dr. Ram Che􀆫ar, MD: Child and adolescent psychiatrist, representing the medical aspect for adolescent mental health
  • Dr. Tim Apodaca, PhD: Psychologist, representing the psychological/behavioral aspect for adolescent
    mental health
  • Dr. Natalie Haultain, PhD: Psychologist, representing the psychological behavioral aspect for elementary aged
    mental health
  • Dr. July Jean Cuevas, MD: Developmental and behavioral pediatrician, representing the medical aspect for
    elementary aged mental health.
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