Anxiety, depression, bullying. “There’s all kinds of things that can drive kids nuts,” said Tom Hughes, chair of the Rotary Club of Golden’s mental wellness workgroup. “We want to provide …
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Anxiety, depression, bullying.
There are many things that can negatively affect a teen, said Tom Hughes, chair of the Rotary Club of Golden’s mental wellness workgroup. “We want to provide them with help.”
And furthermore, Hughes added, bring awareness of mental health issues among youth and provide the greater community with effective resources.
On April 9, the Rotary Club of Golden and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health partnered to present Taming Your Child’s Anxious Mind, a class for parents, caregivers and family members of teens and tweens. It took place at Miners Alley Playhouse in Golden.
The event was informative and provided attendees with useful advice, said Shari Otteman of Golden, a mother of a 12-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son.
“It’s helpful when you can tell your kids that the advice you’re giving them comes from an expert,” Otteman said. “Because then, it’s not just something that was mom’s idea.”
The presenter for the class was Alistair Hawkes, a prevention specialist with the Jefferson Center. She has about 25 years of experience as a therapist working in a variety of community settings. Currently, Hawkes teaches self-regulation life skills to elementary school students in public schools.
It’s important for adults to have the tools to identify youths who are struggling with mental health issues, Hawkes said, well before they commit an act of violence against themselves or another person.
“We need to bring education and awareness of mental health issues into the community to help strengthen individuals and families, which ultimately benefits humanity as a whole,” Hawkes said.
The Rotary Club of Golden has placed raising awareness of mental health issues among youth as one of the club’s priorities, Hughes said. Last year, the Rotary Club of Golden put on a Community Wellness Fair on April 28 that featured classes presented by mental health professionals as well as family-friendly entertainment.
The partnership between the club and the Jefferson Center began a few years ago. The club has supported the Jefferson Center’s efforts to provide resources to community members struggling with mental health issues, as well as the center’s Helping Kids Thrive, a free, annual parenting conference.
Taming Your Child’s Anxious Mind was the second iteration of a series of classes the Rotary Club of Golden has worked with the Jefferson Center to provide to the community. The first, titled Raising Confident, Caring Young People, featured Lori A. Hoffner, a nationally recognized speaker on positive youth development, and took place on Feb. 5.
The next class is expected to happen sometime this summer.
Kip Findley of Arvada attended Taming Your Child’s Anxious Mind to learn about coping methods that parents can utilize. He is the father of three children — an 11-year-old son and two daughters who are 9 and 6.
“If you don’t understand anxiety,” Findley said, “it’s difficult for parents to be patient and deal with it in a nurturing way.”
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