Day 155 (of 183) @bcpvpa issues forum notes (mental health focus)
Our day started with a focus on Mental Health in a School Setting with Andrew Tugwell & Michelle Cianfrone from BC Children’s Hospital:
At any given time 1 in 5 experience a mental health challenge: 75% of all lifetime cases of mental health disorders begin by age 24.
Working on awareness, recognition, education, attitudes of/towards mental health issues.
Great reminder that mental wellness is not the same as mental illness – internal and external factors can lead all to either successes or ‘issues to overcome’.
Depression isn’t sadness
Anxiety isn’t worries
Like a dark cloud – no matter how hard you try to get away from it, it is always overhead.
Sometimes youth can’t identify what “normal” is as they experience “different”
Need to learn about mental health in high school (presenter never had language to explain how he felt – didn’t know he was in ‘trouble’)
Need to talk about it: how are you doing? vs how ARE you doing? – hard to talk about it when nobody else is talking about it.
Can’t identify by a ‘look’ – easy to be masked.
Can’t just “suck it up” or “shake it off”
Understanding is so important with mental health – authentic empathy is very complex.
Kids want to be supported – but so hard to be first to share when the culture isn’t there.
Ugh – reasons for not accessing mental health supports:
Don’t want parents to know
Hope it’ll just go away
Afraid of what may be told
Didn’t know where to go
Afraid someone I know will see me
Who do people go to?
…….takes a community to be supportive and understanding
“The Collaborative” – provincial group to look into
ADHD – Understanding adhd and how schools can support children youth and families in a school setting. With Candace Murray – director of adhd programs at BC Children’s Hospital
Often mis-diagnosed more often mis-understood
Anxiety – too often parents sharing way too much information
400 kids came in for ADHD diagnosis w follow ups – many adults frustrated by dismissal of “oh I have adhd…..” But not a joke.
ADH isn’t ADHD
like anxiety/depression – not just ‘a little bit….’
Keys: frequency, severity, chronicity
Attention is inconsistent not deficient
Most children with ADHD not hyperactive
(Interests can = great focus, but they can’t choose what interests them)
Not always present:
Many distractions in classrooms
Like 1:1 situations
Good with constant feedback
Like consistent external stimulation
ALL children with ADHD have: inconsistent attention
SOME have hyperactivity
Characteristics of add/ADHD like an iceberg (lots below surface)
Esp patience tolerance (written output)
Need many trials
30% delay in maturity/awareness
Executive Functions: the conductor of the orchestra
Response inhibition (stopping)
Working memory (mental multi tasking)
Emotional control (staying calm)
Sustained attention (concentrating)
Task initiation (starting tasks)
Planning (seeing big picture and ways to get there)
Organization (keeping track of into)
Goal directed persistence
Metacognition (evaluate yourself – self awareness)
ADHD = executive dysfunctions
EF weaknesses in students:
Illogical stories sequence
Grabs others stuff
Rushes through boring tasks
Working memory: trouble with verbal instructions
Mental math hard
Forgets ideas while writing
Copying notes from board?? The WORST!!
Procrastination – interest? Uncertainty
Difficulty beginning – harder in middle
Can be overwhelmed – esp in planning & organization
Anxiety SO misunderstood – when scared, fight flight – fight back….. Need a different approach to understand where they are coming from (because they are unaware)
ADHD or DEFIANCE?
Hardest thing for adults to take away / understand: kids can’t stop.
ie so focused on the moment – tuning out everything else (including/especially ‘stop’) WHEN THESE CHILDREN ARE SENT TO OFFICE FOR SOCISL BEHAVIOURS REMEMBER THEY DONT UNDERSTAND SOCIAL CUES
ADHD neurobiological – harder to do things others do
Heredity 75% of cases (defensive parents….)
Only 30% “just” ADHD. Mostly with coexisting disorders (anxiety, odd – opinion: a garbage diagnosis and a symptom of extreme frustration of the environment)
High risk for self medication – if treated early with educated parents (lots of people to help)
Lots of academic issues:
Written output due to fine motor skills
Treatments that work: 4 pillars + 2
1. Parents/teacher education about ADHD
2. Medication for ADHD
3. Parenting strategies
4. School support and accommodations
– regular exercise
– Study skills training (>8 years old)
Less so: diet (and more)
So much misinformation about meds – often parents so scared about them. Help focus like a cup of coffee – but lasts longer
No ADHD recognition (funding) until it becomes “odd” aka violent aka Cat H
The people who need it the most tend to not go to ADHD education. If everyone gets it….it helps everyone.
Get involved with them (refer by first name)
Often targeted as they miss social cues
Promote cross-age tutoring
Don’t overload skilled teachers
More support during unstructured times
Cool down areas (w supervision)
Don’t use recess/lunch as punishment
Take time. Give them time to cool down before problem solving
Catch them and call home with good news! I recently heard a parent as she was answering the phone say “oh god what did he do now” and we ended up laughing because it was a good call!
Overall, strategy for self-regulation requires being proactive (ie line-ups)
Know triggers ahead of time!
Keep them moving!!
Remember – there is a difference between CANT and WONT.