#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | Monadnock Ledger-Transcript – ConVal launches mental health film trilogy for students

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 10/8/2020 1:43:42 PM

ConVal is screening three films on youth mental health topics throughout the school year for middle and high school students and their families. The first one, “Upstanders,” which deals with resilience in the face of bullying, is scheduled for Oct. 21.

The trilogy is a part of the social emotional learning programs the District has been rolling out for several years, Director of Student Services Cari Christian-Coates said, noting that the topics discussed are relevant to the tragic loss of students to suicide in the past year, as well as the student advocacy for a better mental health climate. “Like,” a documentary on social media impacts, and “Angst,” which raises awareness about anxiety, are due to screen in February and April respectively.

Virtual discussion panels follow each screening, and Christian-Coates said staff and faculty for every grade in middle and high school are working to tie the topics into the curriculum during the months surrounding each film, including during TASC periods at the high school. “This is an opportunity for people to see what we are doing,” about some of the serious issues facing students, Christian-Coates said. Parents will be able to view the films at home and attend the panel discussions. The first panel includes a student support counselor and a school counselor from ConVal, a representative from the National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI, and people associated with the making of the film, she said.

“Upstanders” is suitable for students in grades 8-12, and the following films are suitable for children over 10, Christian-Coates said. Students must have parent permission to view the films.

So far, students’ return to school has stood out to Christian-Coates in how respectful they’ve been with regards to COVID-19 guidelines and mask wearing. “They are rockstars,” she said. “We thank the parents for that.” Both students and parents seem to really appreciate the return to school, she said. School counselors are working hard to secure time for students to attend counseling if they need it. “There are lots of kids getting therapy, which is a good thing,” she said, for its potential benefit to their lives. Counselors are also working to keep abreast of cyberbullying and harmful social media culture, especially at a time when so much social interaction is done digitally, Christian-Coates said, in addition to other signs of abuse and neglect. One of the key takeaways from “Upstanders,” is the power of kids supporting one another, she said, and they’re working to promote that. 

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