Free Tax Prep!

2017/02/07 in News & Press Releases

Call 211 to see if you qualify for free tax prep today!

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Suicide Prevention

2016/09/27 in News & Press Releases

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Cabin Fever

Dear Marlena,   I am 16 yrs old and moved to South Florida from Colombia two years ago. My issue is that my parents act as if they still live there and are so strict.

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Get Access To Benefits

2014/11/17 in News & Press Releases

2-1-1 Broward offers support for families to gain financial freedom specifically for youth with Behavioral Health or Special Needs.  Dial 2-1-1 to learn more.

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I Think I Have an Eating Disorder

Dear Marlena, I want to be skinny like my best friend but nothing I do seems to work and I’ve tried A LOT of diets. I know I’m not eating right and my parents are starting to notice. I think I have an eating disorder but I don’t want to freak them out if I tell them. What do I do? Thanks, Mary   Dear Mary, I’m so glad you took your first step to getting help. My short answer to this important question will not be the whole answer, so I do hope you speak to someone soon, as it’s very important to me and those that love you that you stay healthy. I know by you reaching out to me that you want to better yourself so if you aren’t comfortable sharing yet, you can start by speaking anonymously to a counselor at 2-1-1. They will give you some referrals to get you on track and talk with you a bit about what you are going through. It will also be the first step for you to begin opening up about the subject of anorexia and bulimia. Eating disorders are more common than you may know. In fact, 1 or 2 out of every 100 students will struggle with one in the U.S. this year. Learning to be comfortable with your body is a process. Be patient, you can learn to like your body, understand your eating behaviors, and figure out the relationship between feelings and eating — all the tools you need to feel in control and to like and accept yourself for who you are. If you want to talk to someone about eating disorders but are unable or not ready to talk to a parent or close family member, try reaching out to a friend, teacher, school nurse or counselor, coach, neighbor, your doctor, or another trusted adult. You can always call 2-1-1 as well. Best of Luck, Marlena P.S. I’ve found a helpful website that may help with some more information:

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Archbishop McCarthy High School wins state title

For the 3rd year in a row, the Mavericks have won the Class 6A title McCarthy is only the second team in history to take 3 consecutive state titles. The only other team to do so was Miami Westminster Christian in the 1996-1998 seasons. Archbishop Mccarthy’s victory came in a close 4-3 match against Port St. Lucie’s Pace High School.

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Nova’s University School receives runner-up for GSA of the year award!!!

 The attached essay by Mason Roth’s to Glsen illustrates the power of advocacy in changing school climate. They have created a model ALL schools can emulate! GLSEN Contest Blog Entry When tolerance isn’t enough, activism must happen. This year, that phrase transformed University School into a school that accepts all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, race, religion, socio-economic background, or gender. From the founding of the school’s      Gay-Straight Alliance, to the theater department’s interpretation of The Laramie Project, to the inaugural Summit on Human Dignity, the school’s administration, students, and faculty have proven to be active supporters of the LGBTQ communities and equal rights. The Summit on Human Dignity takes place during the last week of October and emphasizes acceptance of all people. This year’s inaugural Summit focused on respect and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. We hosted several guest speakers for the student population, including  Kevin Jennings (he founded the first GSA at the school in which he taught in Massachusetts; he was the first executive director of GLSEN; he was the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Safe and Drug-Free Schools in the Department of Education under Barack Obama), Judy Shepard (she was the mother of Matthew Shepard, the boy on whom the Laramie Project was based), Jessica Lam (one of the most prominent transgender individuals in the country, she has been on the Larry King show and on 20/20.), Jessica Herthel (a hate-crime legislation attorney), and Jenny Betz (education manager at GLSEN. Additionally, teachers geared their curricula toward focusing on LGBTQ rights (English teachers would focus on LGBTQ literature, social studies classes focused on the history of gay rights, and science and math classes learned of gay mathematicians and scientists such as Alan Turing). There were question-and-answer booths set up during lunch to educate students on LGBTQ issues. Several students also made presentations about LGBTQ rights and displayed their presentations during their classes. The effects of the Summit have been evident throughout the year. Many students (including those who are not involved with the GSA) have been correcting other students who utter homophobic slurs—such as “faggot”— or ignorant comments—such as “no homo.” Significantly fewer students have been making sexually ignorant comments since the Summit, and many students have joined the GSA in support of equal rights. Along with the Summit on Human Dignity, the GSA hosted various fund-raisers for LGBTQ causes. We had a booth at our school’s carnival and organized a bake sale to raise money for SunServe (a local, non-profit charitable LGBTQ organization). We donated a computer to SunServe’s computer drive for its LGBTQ youth center and sold wristbands to benefit the Human Rights Campaign, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and SunServe. The GSA’s efforts have contributed to University School’s improved environment of acceptance. These efforts have inspired students to take a stand for equal rights and respect for all. Being a finalist in GLSEN’s contest has given us more motivation to continue our efforts in years to come. Based on our success this year, I have tremendous hope and expectations for our GSA. Mason Roth, President and Founder of University School GSA GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.

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Teenspace Recognizes Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week! The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health declares the first full week in May (May 6 – 12, 2012) as National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. This week is dedicated to increasing public awareness about the triumphs and challenges in children’s mental health and emphasizing the importance of family and youth involvement in the children’s mental health movement! The National Federation invites all our chapters and statewide organizations to use the week of May 6-12, 2012 to promote positive mental health, well-being and social development for all children and youth.  Join the National Federation in sending out the following messages: Mental health is essential to overall health and well being. Serious emotional and mental health disorders in children and youth are real and treatable.  Children and youth with mental health challenges and their families deserve access to   services and supports that are family driven, youth guided and culturally appropriate.  Values of acceptance, dignity and social inclusion should be promoted throughout all   communities for children, youth and families. Family and youth voice is a valued asset in determining appropriate services and interventions.

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Teenspace Polls

2012/04/19 in News & Press Releases

Let us know what you think. Check out our latest polls.    

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4 Facts About Teen Depression

Teens are known for being a moody, rebellious, egocentric and emotional bunch. But while this is normal adolescent behavior, depression is a real disorder that affects one in 20 teens (point prevalence statistic from Essau & Dobson, 1999).   According to Michael Strober, Ph.D, clinical psychologist and senior consultant to the Pediatric Mood Disorders Program at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital, depression in teens is “a serious mental health problem” which isn’t necessarily temporary. “Depression can linger for months and a significant number of young people can have a recurrence,” he said. Here, Dr. Strober along with Alice Rubenstein, Ed.D, a clinical psychologist in private practice who treats teens, dole out the facts about this commonly misunderstood disorder. 1. Depression goes beyond moodiness. Temperamental teens are common. But moodiness doesn’t mean depression, Dr. Rubenstein said. Neither does sleeping a lot, which is typical for teens; they actually require more sleep than adults and have trouble falling asleep early. (See more on sleep in teens here.) So how do you know the difference between normal teenage doldrums and depression? Consider if there’s been “a real change in the functioning of [your] child’s behavior,” Strober said. You also might notice changes in appetite and sleep, poor school performance, an inability to concentrate, lack of interest and withdrawal from regular social activities. “Agitation and irritability in teens may be a sign of depression” as well, according to Rubenstein. However, research hasn’t shown the presence of increased agitation as a distinct symptom, Strober said. In general, look for consistent patterns. “If depression lasts more than two, certainly three weeks, you want to pay attention,” she said. 2. There’s no quintessential face of depression. We tend to create categories and stereotypes around certain mental illnesses. That is, many people assume that teens with depression are troublemakers, loners, nerds or artsy types. But depression does not discriminate, Rubenstein noted. It affects all types of teens. (Depression does seem to affect girls twice as much as boys.) 3. Comorbidity is common. Teens rarely just struggle with depression. “Depressive symptoms are part of a bigger picture,” Rubenstein said. For instance, anxiety commonly co-occurs with depression. In fact, in her private practice, Rubenstein has noticed more teens coming in with symptoms of anxiety largely because of the combination of academic pressures and attempts to balance school with sports (or other extracurricular activities) and social events. In other cases, depression may be the primary problem, but other disorders, like learning difficulties, still exist. 4. Teen depression is treatable. Most people think that depression is difficult to treat, Rubenstein said, but treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help. According to Strober, research has found that CBT “should be considered as treatment for mild to moderate depression.” “Between four to six weeks, we can bring some relief,” Rubenstein said. There’s also some evidence that shows certain antidepressants are effective in teen depression. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has shown the most benefit, according to research, Strober said. If the antidepressant is helping, it’s recommended the teen take the medication for a year, he said. Whether medication is necessary “really depends on the seriousness and persistence [of depression].” When treating depression in teens, Rubenstein helps her clients create a toolbox to cope with life. Her first goal is to “actively do something that’s helpful to them…to give the message that I want to help you where it hurts.” She does this by finding out one change that will relieve the teen’s pain. For instance, if a teen is super stressed at school, dropping one class and picking it back up in the summer may be a reasonable option. In addition to empowering the client, she also lets them know that they can improve, that they don’t have to feel this way. How Parents Can Help a Depressed Teen Again, “Teens who are suffering from depression can be helped,” Rubenstein said, so it’s important to get them treatment. If you think your teen has depression, seek a psychologist who specializes in treating adolescents. It’s key to see an expert. As Rubenstein said, “you wouldn’t hire a plumber to put on your new roof.” Even if your teen doesn’t want to go to therapy or you haven’t discussed the option yet, an appointment is critical. A psychologist can educate you on depression (also consider checking out sources on your own), how to help and give you the tools you need. Similarly, if medication is going to be considered as part of a treatment plan, try to find a psychiatrist who treats children and adolescents. Sometimes, psychologists and psychiatrists will work as a team. For instance, Rubenstein has worked with the same psychiatrist for years. A team approach is important. “This way everyone is on the same page,” she said. Also, your family doctor might be able to recommend a psychologist or psychiatrist. Reference Essau C., & Dobson K. (1999). Epidemiology of depressive disorders. In: Depressive Disorders in Children and Adolescents: Epidemiology, Course, and Treatment, Essau C, Petermann F, eds. Northvale, N.J.: Jason Aronson.

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