Treasure Coast mental health organization helps students readjust to classroom life

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla .– It’s three weeks before the start of the new school year, and for many students, this will be the first time back in a classroom in over a year.

That’s why a mental health organization on the Treasure Coast is working to make sure children are well prepared for the transition.

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“It all started because I was depressed. I called a suicide hotline because I didn’t feel safe for myself,” said Marisa Mitchell, 16.

Speaking to WPTV, Mitchell courageously shared his story of overcoming a very difficult time in his life.

“It was all the stress out there and I was just going to college,” Mitchell said. “I saw my different body. My face was bursting. So I saw myself different from others.”

Now a more confident student at South Fork High School, Mitchell is participating in a “Mental Health Matters” video series through Tykes & Teens, a Treasure Coast mental health organization that helped her through her days. darker and hope to help others prepare to go back to school.

“I think the only thing we have to understand is that everyone experiences this time differently. So our expectations of others, we almost have to take a step back and give ourselves grace,” said Dorothy Oppenheiser. , director of prevention services. for Tykes & Teens. “The mental health of our children is just as worrying as anything else in our community.”

Oppenheiser said the weekly “Mental Health Matters” videos will focus on anxiety, depression, recovery from routines and other factors to help students readjust to school life.

“If we can look at children’s strengths and find ways to connect them, it doesn’t have to be traditional,” Oppenheiser said. “Whether it is the choir, group or debate club, help in the library, anything that can create a healthy connection with a healthy, stable adult.”

Oppenheiser gave parents some advice on what signs of anxiety or depression to look out for in your child, and how to support them. You can find out more by watching this video:

Treasure Coast mental health organization helps students readjust to classroom life

Mitchell’s video focuses on managing anxiety.

“I could read a book, I could listen to music if I’m allowed in class. Because you always want to find that teacher who is your safe space. I could write,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell added that dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year has taught her a lot about herself.

“I just learned to love myself more. I learned to embrace my style and my personality,” Mitchell said.

And hopes that by sharing her experiences, other teens will feel less alone and empowered to get help if they need it.

“I love to make a difference. I want to make a difference. I want people to feel happier,” Mitchell said. “Just because you have anxiety doesn’t mean you’re different or you’re depressed. You feel different, but everyone is doing it. It might not be the same as you.”

A good message that we all need to remember as we prepare for this next phase of education.

Mitchell’s “Mental Health Matters” video will air on Tykes & Teens’ Facebook page at 1 p.m. Wednesday. You can watch it in clicking here.

For more information on the Mental Health Matters videos and additional resources for families from Tykes & Teens, Click here.

If you or someone you know suffers from thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Help is available 24 hours a day in English and Spanish.

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