Supporting Young People with Mental Health Difficulties: Parents and Educators Working Together


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Supporting Young People with Mental Health Difficulties: Parents and Educators Working Together

  1. 1. Supporting Young Peoplewith Mental Health Difficulties Parents and Educators Working Together
  2. 2. Roles Parents & Youth AppreciateEducators play crucial roles in…Identification & AssessmentAdvocacy & Support
  3. 3. Helping to IdentifyEducators often 1st to suggest possibility of amental disorder (e.g. ADHD) (Sax & Kautz, 2003; Today‟s ParentSurvey, 2009) Educators > source of initial identification of a problem than physicians Leading support for coping with mental health (behind physicians & family) Better link between schools & mental health services desired by families, educators and MH Prof.Accessible & trusted source of info for youthand parents
  4. 4. Key Role in AssessmentProvide key insight into behaviours of childin a setting with various levels of structure(independent work to group work)Provide insight into social functioningProvide accurate comparisons todevelopmental peer group
  5. 5. Educators & AssessmentReliable source of info Often know child best 2nd to parent (age related) Key role in accurately completing assessment measuresSchool Psychologists– often the only source forPsychoeducational testing forLD
  6. 6. Stigma – “Us & Them” 6
  7. 7. StigmaStigma is often poorly definedConstellation of 3 related concepts: Lack of knowledge (ignorance) Negative and unfavorable attitudes (prejudice) Negative behaviours that result from those attitudes (discrimination)Creates barriers to identification & access
  8. 8. Activity – Part IWrite down 2 words that describe aperson who has a mental disorder/mentalillness Person with Mental Illness 1. __________________ 2. __________________ (Kutcher, 2009) 8
  9. 9. Activity – Part IIWrite down 2 words that describe aperson who you know in this room Person in the Room 1. __________________ 2. __________________ (Kutcher, 2009) 9
  10. 10. Challenging StigmaHow do „show‟that you‟re anally, a support?How do we„spread‟ the wordin schools thatwe are againstmental health (see Mood Disorders Canada)stigma?
  11. 11. Disability vs: (dis)Ability Theory• Differing Views of Impairment and Disability• Diagnostic-medical model (bio-centric) • Disability located within the person • Equates impairment with disability (Oliver, 1986; Shakespear & Watson, 2001)• Social Model (also referred to as Human Rights model) • Impairment (e.g., lacking use of mechanism of the body) • Focuses instead on the disabling conditions that can arise through a mismatch between peoples‟ needs 11 and the unjust policies and practices of society and its
  12. 12. ‘Hidden’ (dis)Ability • Mental disorders can be considered „hidden‟ disabilities – aka: non-obvious or invisible disabilities/impairment • Other than symptoms, often no telltale sign of „impairment‟ – DSM-based diagnosis used to „legitimizing‟ the difficulty • Consistent with the LD movement – Advocacy for identification & access to resources(Miller & Sammons, 1999; 12Ryan & Runswick-Cole, 2008;Warshaw, 2004; Wolf, 2001)
  13. 13. Hidden Dis/ability & British Poor Law a) Deserve help („worthy deserving poor‟) • Because of failure of society/ structure of system (e.g., physical impairment & need for ramp to bypass stairs) • Clear proof as judged by „those in charge/those with power‟ b) Don‟t deserve help („undeserving poor‟) • Because of their own personal failure (e.g., parent blaming, lazy, it‟s just behaviour, we‟re being manipulated) • No „clear‟ proof of problems (thus „unfair‟ to give help, or „everyone would want it‟) 13
  14. 14. Why don‟t they just tell us … Uncovering „Hidden‟ DisabilitiesSome parents/youth are… …not always aware of difficulties …not always accepting of difficulties (diagnosis ≠ acceptance)Many, if not most, parents/youth are… …indirectly & directly impacted by stigma and/or discrimination
  15. 15. Barriers to DisclosingFear… …of discrimination/being discredited (stigma reinforced) Perpetuated in families & institutions (schools/hospitals) Self-stigma (believing negative messages) “I‟m dumb” …of peers finding out …of limiting future ...of loss of control / limiting future (i.e. academic record) …of self-advocacy (anxiety issues)
  16. 16. Hidden Disabilities & Accommodations &
  17. 17. Advocacy & Support You don‟t need a telephone booth To be a „go-to‟ educator ..a „Mrs. Jackson‟ Point of contact for youth/parents to navigate services Be an ally & a champion for change
  18. 18. Tips for Identification - HearingTo hear about child‟s special needs… Key – start „chat‟ with youth/parents during a time of „less stress‟ not always possible e.g., psychosis „Hidden‟ nature of mental disorders ( + stigma) requires extra effort to create „space‟ for youth/parents to share Meet „n‟ greet-relationship is key (be a go-to-teacher) Crucial for youth entering a new school > stress They still may not share then, but may in future
  19. 19. More Tips for „Hearing‟Explore / work with strengths Ask about what‟s worked in the past & who has been helpful and why They may tell you about an „Alan‟, „Stan‟, „Alexa‟Parents/youth may want educators to beinvolved in assessment/treatment process Sharing info with MH team Developing in-school supports/ accommodations
  20. 20. Tips for Identification - SharingTo share about child‟s challenges… Relationship is key (get to know parents/youth) The „when‟ & „how‟ is just as important as „what‟ you have to say Strive to hear parents‟ views BEFORE sharing your viewpoint Acknowledge their expertise - share your expertise as an educator (you don‟t need to take on „psychiatrist‟ role) Email & phone with privacy & time to talk important Need for assessment is often the first message (typically facilitated by Family doctor)
  21. 21. More Tips for „Sharing‟Observe & document concerns/worries e.g., change of mood, behaviour, social, work habits, hygiene – this helps parents & MH ProsMeet with youth/parents early in process toshare your concerns Share what you have tried in-class Share your plan for additional services before you implementCheck in with other teachers/school staff
  22. 22. Top 10 Tips for Connecting with Parents to Launch Identification1. When meeting parents work on a relationship – Small things like use their names (not Mom & Dad) – Ask how they are doing (not all business)2. Do share about the student – start with positives (not just to say, BUT…) – Share concerns in terms of behaviour not in terms of diagnosis (e.g., ADHD)3. Serious „talks‟ demand private places – Time and place to make sense of issue & next steps
  23. 23. …Top 10 (continued)4. Make contact with youth/parents -don‟t assume that parents will know to contact you if they have concerns – Establish a preferred mode of communication – Remember it is really hard to connect with a teacher5. Find ways to connect directly with parents – Avoid using child as the messenger (it rarely arrives & when it does message may inaccurate – Remember it is really hard to connect with a teacher email great, phone, in private
  24. 24. …Top 10 (continued)6. Work with youth/parents – Try not to wait until report card time, parent/teacher meetings or when a crisis erupts7. Use accessible language – avoid acronyms & teacher speak – e.g., “Johnny is doing great in the mornings”
  25. 25. …Top 10 (continued)8. Avoid activating parents defenses – Put yourself in parent‟s shoes (never easy to hear that your child is struggling) – Remember mental disorders can be stigmatizing – Parents see kids in a different context & truly may not know what you are talking about9. Sharing difficult news can be difficult – Empathy for the young person/parent can be your best tool10. What‟s worked for you?