7 strategies we could implement to prevent school shootings

At 55 seconds into this video called Letter to God, Charles raps:

“Dear God…….Yesterday a school got shot up, God fell asleep and never got up. It was out there in Connecticut–you didn’t have to see their little faces on the internet. I doubt you even remember it. And if you do, I’m sorry for the lack of gratitude, But ignoring my prayers is the wrong attitude…”

After his friend Max sent me this video of Charles after his death by suicide, I remember understanding how adversely effected he was by the shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary. At the … Read more...

Dear Cosby High School Health Science Students,

I visited Cosby High School Health Science Students in Chesterfield County and presented on a topic no one wants to talk about: mental illness, addiction and suicide.

I told them my personal story about Charles. Actually, I taught two health science classes. Then we did a skit, “How heroin talked to Charles” and one dr Seuss-like poems on drugs and one on resilience. Voice was still awful but had a grand time.

After, these kids decided they wanted to send me letters to say thank you. Their idea. The most heartfelt, touching letters I have ever gotten. This is my … Read more...

James River students seek to raise awareness of teen suicide

by Ellie Mast and Aaliyah Adkins, Co-Creators of River Jam
Seniors in the Leadership and International Relations Center at JRHS

River Jam Details
Where: In the James River High School senior parking lot
When: Saturday, March 10th, 2018 from 1pm-4pm

As part of our Leadership and International Relations Center curriculum, we were tasked with creating a 60-hour service project that embodies the four cornerstones of leadership: perspectives, communications, ethics, and service. We spent countless hours thinking of what kind of event we should create that would benefit a charity that inspired us. After seeing the devastating toll of mental illnesses … Read more...

Godwin High School Teens Speak Out!

I have had the honor of visiting with this group, No Eagle Left Behind on several occasions now from Godwin High School in Henrico County. They have explored several programs and have planned an assembly with the school that focuses on mental illness. And they made this video which rocks. I’ll be in there again for the assembly with a teen speaker from Cameron Gallagher Foundation and for an opportunity for me to talk about the #umatter or #umatterchallenge through Beacon Tree Foundation.

Alex Chaffee from Cosby High School has helped me with this program in addition to Haley, … Read more...

Teens wiping out mental health stigma

stigma fighters
Stigma fighters Alex Chaffee and Amy Lacey of ABC News
See the video on Channel 8

Like me, they’ve had enough.

They see no logic in the tradition of mental health stigma. Such a lousy, pointless tradition.

They are tired of classmates suffering. They are tired of being silent.

Now that the wave has started, I predict that we’ll have a whole new attitude toward stigma by next year this time.

Thanks to Alex Chaffee and other teens I will be highlighting here on this blog. And there are a lot more in this area speaking up and not tolerating … Read more...

The turning point. When did things start to go wrong?

charles middle school

Adolescence is when things with Charles started falling apart–around 2010. I was scrambling around trying to help him keep it all together. I started to see signs that were alarming but I couldn’t get a handle on it.

In 5th grade and middle school, Charles’ teachers kept telling me that he was unprepared for class and was often jumpy and nervous when he realized everyone had their materials out but him. It was all still manageable enough at this age.

He did have ADHD. And a sleep disorder. But I felt like I didn’t have the whole picture. I researched non-stop.… Read more...

Cosby High School is the first to pilot the #umatterchallenge!

Check out the video the teens did! Thanks to Alex Chaffee, teen leader and member of the Swift Creek YMCA Leader’s Club for her help in leading the charge on this social media mental illness acceptance and suicide prevention program! And to all the students who stood up against the stigma of mental illness.

I doubt I could have gotten a team of adults to do this video. So who’s gonna erase stigma? High school students like these guys!

If you want to bring this simple, 2-week program to your school, contact me. This program is through Beacon Tree Foundation, advocates … Read more...

Educators, we need your help supporting Preventure drug program

This grant has been submitted in Virginia. We got the letters we needed. Thank you so much. We will keep you up to date. If you want updates, here is the link to our email list for Preventure Updates.

In order to see that the evidence-based Preventure Adolescent Drug Prevention Program is implemented here in Virginia, we need letters of support from educators. Directions below. 

To clarify, the letter is not committing schools

A letter shows interest on the part of the school to participate in such trial. The main purpose of these letters is to show to NIH … Read more...

How does someone go back to school after a suicide attempt?

Post Updated 01/2020

With suicide attempts so prevalent, what are we doing about transitioning kids from psychiatric hospitals back to the school environment?

Transitioning kids back to school after a suicide attempt should be similar to integrating a child who had missed school for major surgery or cancer treatments. In other words, you treat that absence like you would any other major absence and follow the same policy you have for that transition.

The following is the ideal scenario, however, some rural and smaller schools don’t have these kinds of resources so follow what you can when you can.

Social and

Read more...

The Self-Harm Safety Box

by Jody Bee

This is not to take the place of appropriate mental health care. It is a self-help guide is for those who self harm and want to stop but are not sure how from a woman who has struggled and managed to break the vicious cycle of self harm. 

Self-harm is on the rise at an alarming rate, not only amongst teens but adults as well. If you are sitting in a classroom or a school auditorium, glance around you.

Would you think that any of the people you see, be it friends or strangers have self-inflicted scars, bruises … Read more...