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Presentations from NAMI Rhode Island to Block Island School

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The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Block Island arranged for presentations to take place at Block Island School "Inside Mental Illness" for High School Students, and "Parents and Teachers as Allies"open to all members of the community. These slides accompanied an interactive and very useful engagement.
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Presentations from NAMI Rhode Island to Block Island School

  1. 1. NAMI RI: National Alliance on Mental Illness 154 Waterman Street Suite 5B Providence, RI 02906 401-331-3060 www.namirhodeisland.org
  2. 2. 2 Parents and Teachers as Allies Recognizing Early-onset Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents “It may be that nature in its wisdom has singled out these two primary custodial human networks for the job of identifying children at risk, knowing that the vigilant eye of parents and teachers will sound the first alarm when a child fails to thrive”
  3. 3. 3 Today’s Situation • 12 % of children in USA under 18 have a diagnosable mental illness. (2001, Surgeon General) • Parents and teachers can be overwhelmed by child's mental illness. • 50% of adult cases of mental illness had signs and symptoms by age 14 • Three quarters have begun by age 24
  4. 4. Today’s Situation ● Left untreated these disorders can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness. ● Serious lack of resources for children with mental illness. ● Parents and teachers are frontline allies in the battle against long-term devastation.
  5. 5. Mental illness is a PHYSICAL illness, just like diabetes! Reaction to Physical Illnesses: Reaction to Mental Illnesses:
  6. 6. It’s Biological! ● Imbalance of brain chemicals ● Genetic ● Triggered by something (trauma) in the environment ● Usual age of onset of symptoms is ages 18-25 ● The earlier you get a diagnosis and treatment, the better the outcome ● 2/3 of youth with mental illness do not receive treatment ● Of the 100,000 teens in detention, about 60% have behavioral, cognitive, or emotional problems
  7. 7. https://www.youtube.com/v/VF14 8GE3ED4
  8. 8. Major Depression ● Loss of energy, interest, joy ● Excessive worry and guilt ● Hopelessness and worthlessness ● Weight loss/gain ● Insomnia/hypersomnia ● Overly quiet and withdrawn mannerisms ● Decreased concentration ● Intense emotional pain ● Delusions of being dead ● Death related thoughts ● Suicidal Ideation ● Suicide plans or attempts
  9. 9. Observations From Home • Nothing pleases them • Admit this child is no fun & hard to like • They have a “totally different kid” • Displays worst symptoms at home
  10. 10. ● Remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem! ● It is not safe to assume that someone can overcome their suicidal thoughts without getting help and support!
  11. 11. Bipolar Disorder: Depression + Mania • Increased activity • Decreased sleep • Euphoria • Irritability • Hypercritical • Rapid and pressured speech • Racing thoughts • Irrational thinking • Delusions of grandeur/power • Excessive spending/socializing/telephoning/writing • Inflated self-esteem/invincibility
  12. 12. Observations From Home • Ragged sleep cycles – night terrors • Violent rages – tantrums • Severe separation anxiety/refusing to go to school • Child acts worse at home than school
  13. 13. Anxiety ● Inability to concentrate ● Muscle tension ● Insomnia/sleep disturbance ● Easily fatigued ● Loss of appetite ● Nervous ticks: nail biting/scratching ● Short/shallow breaths ● Tearfulness ● Irritability ● Heart racing ● Lightheadedness ● Feeling shaky ● Nausea/vomiting ● Sweating
  14. 14. Observations From Home ● Repeated absences from school ● “Meltdowns” when parents try to force activities which generate anxiety ● Parent feels “catch 22” accommodating anxious behavior
  15. 15. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ● Obsessions: unwanted thoughts/feelings that occur repetitively ● Intense feelings of disgust/doubt, things being done “just right” ● Intrusive, unwanted, and time- consuming thoughts ● Triggers extreme anxiety ● Examples: contamination, losing control, getting diseases, superstitions
  16. 16. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) ● Compulsions: actions to neutralize, counteract, or get rid of the obsessions ● Time-consuming ● Distracting from important activities ● Often times, people would rather not have their compulsions ● Examples: washing, checking, repeating, arranging, counting
  17. 17. Observations From Home ● Parents report they must cooperate with compulsive rituals to placate the child and avoid confrontations and tantrums ● Bewildered and angry at the child’s inability to control irrational behaviors ● Rituals swamp home life but are more subdued in public
  18. 18. Schizophrenia • Positive symptoms: what’s added to your personality • Illogical thinking • Disordered speech • Delusions • Superstitions and fixation on religion • Suspicion and paranoia • Auditory, visual, olfactory, or sensory hallucinations • Inappropriate emotions
  19. 19. Schizophrenia • Negative symptoms: what’s missing from your personality • Blunted affect (appearing “flat” or “unemotional”) • Moodiness • Depression • Lack of motivation • Social withdrawal • Decline in hygiene • Peculiar behavior • Unusual sleeping patterns
  20. 20. Observations From Home • Child reports hearing voices • Child stares at things not there • Worries, child shows no interest in friends • Child appears “blank” all the time; little or no emotion
  21. 21. 21 A Word About Medication & Youth It is critical for teachers and other school personnel to report changes in behavior and side effects that they observe as soon as possible to parents so that they, along with their child’s doctor, can evaluate if the current treatment is the best option for the child at that time.
  22. 22. What You Can Do • Implement accommodations in class setting (some are very simple) • Listen carefully to what the parents & children are saying • Remove feelings of blame • Acknowledge denial and anger as ‘normal’ responses • Communicate empathy and compassion for the parents dilemma
  23. 23. How you can help the child cope with some of the side effects of the medications • WATER BOTTLE AT DESK (Dry Mouth) • AUTOMATIC BATHROOM PASS/ OR SIGNAL (Diarrhea/Frequent Urination) • DESIGNATED SAFE PLACE TO GO TO (Crying Spells and Emotional Meltdowns) • SCHEDULE CORE ACADEMIC CLASSES LATER IN DAY (Difficulty getting up in the morning) • BE SENSITIVE TO WEIGHT FLUCTATION (+ AND -) (criticism from other children)
  24. 24. NAMI Can Assist… • Provide parents with resources: • Education is key to understanding • Offer Parents and Teachers as Allies booklet. • Encourage them to contact NAMI for: • Referrals • Support groups • Education classes • Urge them to seek support for themselves

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