Friday, January 25, 2013

American Psychiatric Foundation Teams with Miami-Dade School System to Address Teen Mental Health

The American Psychiatric Foundation (APF) and Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be implementing APF's Typical or Troubled? School Mental Health Education Program for all public junior high and high schools in the Miami-Dade system. The program will train more than 500 teachers, school psychologists, social workers, and guidance counselors on early identification of potential mental health problems, will educate and engage parents, and will ultimately link students with mental health services when needed.

Typical or Troubled? is an educational program that helps school personnel distinguish between typical teenage behavior and evidence of mental health warning signs that could warrant intervention. The program includes culturally sensitive technical assistance for school personnel on best practices and educational materials in English, Spanish, and soon in Haitian Creole.  To date, the program has been used in more than 500 schools and school districts and educated more than 40,000 teachers, coaches, administrators, and other school personnel across the country.

Miami-Dade County Judge Steven Leifman, who is a member of the APF board of directors, said, “The school is the perfect place to bring students, parents, teachers, and other school personnel together to ultimately connect those students who need help with support and treatment. This program is a model program for every school community in our nation.”

The partnership of APF and Miami-Dade County Public Schools will take a "proactive" approach to tackle the issue through partnerships and targeted training that hone in on the identification and effective treatment of mental health problems before those problems before they are manifest through  truancy, substance abuse, violence, or tragedy.

A recent NIMH study addressed the question of whether teens with psychiatric disorders are overmedicated. Read about it in Psychiatric News, here.

(Andrey Shadrin/


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