Brunswick High School Plans Mental Health Series

September 06, 2015 | By NIkki Rhoades

Brunswick High School will host a series of meetings for parents on the second Wednesday of each month to address issues concerning students’ mental health.

The first meeting will be 8 a.m. Wednesday in Room 111 at Brunswick High School, 3581 Center Road, and cover what services the school district offers.

The high school offers a variety of services for the emotional and mental health needs of students, said Nicole Stacey, the school’s mental health specialist.

“With suicide and violence constantly in the news, you hear more and more about the need to address mental health. Schools are starting to realize that kids spend most of their time in school, and that stress and other emotional factors are having an impact on the kids,” Stacey said.

“That is where I come into the picture. I am a clinical social worker. In a building of over 2,500 students, my job is important. In times of need, many schools bring in social workers from outside the district. Having a social worker that is familiar with the atmosphere of the school and the attitudes of the students is beneficial in so many ways.

“I will handle any and all crises going on in the building, work through day-to-day issues that pop up, work with students that need any additional support that goes above and beyond guidance counseling, and I handle mediations between students, staff and parents.

“Building-wide,” Stacey said, “I work to improve the atmosphere. I’m kind of a Jack-of-all-trades, working to fill the gaps between school, community and the home.”

A 2014 survey by the American Psychological Association, called “Stress in America,” noted that Millennials report stress levels comparable to adults. Millennials are people born between roughly 1982 and 2004 as defined by researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss.

More than 1,000 children ages 13 to 17 and nearly 2,000 adults were surveyed online with the assistance of Harris Interactive Inc.

According to the study, 26 percent of parents and 25 percent of millennials reported they do not receive enough emotional support.

In another response, 28 percent of parents and 34 percent of millennials said they feel isolated and lonely because of stress.

Stacey began collaborating with Brunswick High School building administrators and the guidance department last year to create the district program.

“I hear what is going on and observe the school and community atmosphere. I target hot topics that are being commonly discussed so that we may address them in these meetings,” she said.

“The goal is to open communication between school and parents, especially since communication between a parent and their teen tends to be minimal.

“The schools are a great resource of information and we want the parents in the community to know what we are doing. The main thing we want out of this is to keep our kids physically and emotionally safe.”

Topics covered last year included social media trends and safety with guest speakers from the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, a discussion on stress and its impact on teenage depression, and a presentation by the high school’s resource officers regarding safety.

“If other local districts are interested in having a social worker in their building or district, contact your board of education,” Stacey said. “There are so many positive outcomes that result from working closely with the students and removing unhealthy barriers that impact school and home life.”

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