‘Changing the Tide’ on Youth Mental Illness
More than 300 local parents, educators, clinicians and community members gathered Tuesday morning to discuss ways to combat what one speaker called the “new norm” for teenagers in the area: alarmingly high rates of anxiety, stress, depression and death by suicide.
The Children’s Health Council (CHC), a Palo Alto nonprofit that supports youth with anxiety, depression, ADHD and learning differences through services and school sites, devoted an annual breakfast panel to the topics. CHC billed the event as a “call to action” for a community continuing to cope and learn from two separate youth suicide clusters in the last several years.
“How can we change the tide away from teen anxiety, depression and suicide toward teen resiliency, happiness and a sense of well-being?” asked CHC Executive Director Rosalie Whitlock, whose children attended Palo Alto schools. A panel of speakers spoke both personally and professionally to the ever-present issues of intense academic pressure, too-narrow definitions of success, the connection between sleep deprivation and depression, and finding ways to dispel the stigma around mental illness.