Why I decided to tell my students about my Mental Illness

by Tammy Ozolins

When I started to accept my mental illness diagnosis, managing, coping, and recovery began.  I also said I was going to make sure the road I took would help fight the stigma and help others dealing with a mental illness.

Our counseling department asked if any staff member wanted to make a video about something our students would probably not know about us. That’s when I decided to tell them about my struggle with the depression part of my illness. I actually cope and manage with Bipolar 2, but I teach middle school so I did not … Read more...

Speaking at Millwood School this Thurs, March 21

:54 second Invitation!

Getting Comfortable with an Uncomfortable Conversation- Breaking the silence on mental illness and suicide

Thursday, March 21, 2019 from 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)

Millwood School – Robinson Hall 
15100 Millwood School Lane 
Midlothian, VA 23112

This is a community event! This presentation is about my journey to healing by dragging an unpopular topic into the spotlight, how parents can discern normal teen behavior from mental illness, the transitions that can cause problems for teens, and strategies for helping children build resilience.

Takeaways:
• What are the signs of suicide and how does someone … Read more...

Teens empowered to tackle taboo subjects

My niece, Aurora, called me and asked about how to start a mental wellness club at her school in upstate New York after a NAMI group visited. My niece rocks and she is the best. That from an unbiased aunt. I shared this post and April’s idea she had implemented for Godwin. And look what she did! Is this awesome or what?

What if inclusion went viral? I’ll take one at time for now but April and I are working on a Mental Wellness Guide for Schools. So if any teens or adults have more ideas, share them here! And … Read more...

New York Times: The Family Foundation School

A group of kids from the Family School go paintballing one Saturday

Not long ago, I was interviewed by Michael Wilson for an article for the New York Times. He was investigating the Family Foundation School, the therapeutic boarding school where Charles attended in 2012. A teacher in New York had died from overdose in the bathroom who had attended the school which left bread crumbs back to the Family School.

In 2015, Charles was one of three deaths of alumni from the school that happened consecutively. Liz was first on May 31, 2015 and hers was an overdose. Followed … Read more...

How to prepare children to return to school after a suicide loss

This is for those who support children and teens returning to school after the loss of a parent, sibling, grandparent or other close loved one to suicide. I’m not an expert on this so I am redirecting you to the resource that is!

How can parents best help children as they return to school?

One of the primary things parents and caregivers can do is to open a dialogue with children about returning to school. This gives the child an opportunity to express how they’re feeling and any concerns they have.

Returning to School After a Suicide Loss: For Teens

Read more...

I kicked boys and no one ever asked why

I wore these corrective shoes. One of my feet turned in and these were supposed to help. It must have because it no longer pronates as it once did. Or I grew out of it. I remember they were expensive and I didn’t really want to wear them.

Because they were different and overly retro, I was relentlessly teased about them. But I didn’t kick boys because they made fun of me or my shoes. I just endured that.

What no one ever seemed to remember, mention or even know was why I kicked boys. No one ever asked or considered … Read more...

How I survive my son’s Substance Use Disorder

by Brooke D.

As the mother of an addict who is has been in and out of recovery for the past three years who has also struggled with depression for most of his life, I have had to learn to focus on my life.

In Al anon I learned that I can be “happy whether the alcoholic is drinking or not.” I have chosen to apply that to all aspects of my son’s mental and physical health.

Specifically, here are some of the things I do to take care of myself on a daily and weekly basis. The more he Read more...

This is what middle school is really like

by a middle schooler

This totally fake middle school picture of happy children is brought to you by your imagination

Note from Anne Moss: When I spoke at the Shady Grove YMCA, there were mostly parents, but a few teens there and one of them talked to me after about the culture at her middle school. Quite different than most of us think although having been in schools and in the Y with teens, this came as no surprise to me. This isn’t just one school. This is common and indicates our culture has a problem. After we talked, the Read more...

Godwin High School No Eagle Left Behind Club

This group raises awareness of mental illness and substance use disorder. The students have come up with the ideas and once a week in home room are presenting or doing an activity related to mental health. Last week it was Kevin Hines Golden Gate Bridge video.

I went in today to show them this exercise. I call it the Resilience Game. It’s very simple and easy to execute and teachers themselves don’t run it. The students do.  I figured why not let them lead this one? Since do something every week, they are looking for ideas.

The atmosphere at … Read more...

Feedback for Resilience Exercise with Teenagers

I did an event for the Regional YMCA Leader’s Club Rally. Leader’s Club is a club for teens. I so enjoyed myself. I asked the rally coordinator, Janice, for feedback. Since it was the first time I’d done this suicide prevention and  resilience type exercise with the teenagers, I felt like it went well due to the engagement but couldn’t know for sure. I started with my story and was entirely emotionally naked about how I felt when I heard the news and how I fought back to forgive myself after my son’s suicide and what I learned in that … Read more...