Family Education Webinar Series

The School Mental Health Resource & Training Center will provide monthly educational webinars for families and caregivers. Join us live to ask questions, or watch from our complete list of recorded webinars down below.

Understanding & Supporting Teen Emotional, Mental & Sexual Health

Oct. 18, 2022 at 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Teens face unique and complex challenges everyday. At times, as families , caregivers and educators we may feel uncertain of how to best support them or we may feel disconnected from the specific challenges they are navigating.

During our conversation we will share ways families and caregivers can help support the emotional, mental and sexual health of the teens in their care. Panelists will share tips on how to connect with school and community resources, as well as approach sensitive topics with their teens.

The evenings panelists will include:

  • Mark Mason – Past NYSSCA President & High School Counselor in Syracuse

  • Brooke Strauss, LCSW – Manager of Behavioral Health & Program Coordinator – Specialized Care Center for Adolescents & Young Adults

Register Here 

Registration Closes on 10am on Oct. 18, 2022


Recorded Sessions

Suicide Prevention Strategies for Families/Caregivers

September is National Suicide Prevention Month but we know that engaging in trauma-informed crisis response is needed year round to support the mental health and wellbeing of today’s youth.

Please join Dr. Celia Spacone as we discuss helpful strategies to identifying warning signs and symptoms of suicide, and learn more about crisis response services in NY.

Suicide Prevention Coalition of Erie County Website:




Mental Health Essentials for Back to School

Mental Health Essentials for Back to School

Summer is flying by, bringing us closer to the 2022 -2023 school year with each day that passes. While the thought of starting a new school year is exciting for some, it can bring new stress and anxious feelings for others.

Looking for ways to support your student as they gear up for a new year, then join MHANYS Family Education Specialist, Whitney Closson on the latest installment in the Family Education Webinar series: Mental Health Essentials for Back to School. We share helpful resources, conversation starters and self esteem boosters to help start the school year feeling confident and with a wellness mindset.



MH Essentials for Back to School (Resource Page Aug) (1)

School, Summer Stress and Your Teen

School, Summer Stress and Your Teen

School and summer vacation can impact the mental health of your teen. We discussed the causes and impacts of stress on teens, and how to support teen mental health by promoting skills to help cope with every day stress.




Beyond Pride: Supporting LGBTQ + Youth Mental Health

June was Pride Month where we celebrated the beautiful diversity, struggle for justice and importance of inclusion and representation for the rainbow that is the LGBTQ+ community. But beyond the parades, rainbows, flags and celebrations there are young people who struggle every day as a result of beliefs, actions and words that deny their very existence.

View the latest installment in the Family Education Webinar series, Beyond Pride: Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health.  During our time together we  explore ways parents and caregivers can create affirming and supportive family environments for youth.


Signy Furiya, LCSW, Director of Well Being Institute of the Hudson Valley Pride Center
James Baptiste, Program Coordinator of the Hudson Valley Pride Center
April Heyman – President and Founder of LI Pride PTSA , Parent Advocate




Supporting Teens After High School: Tips for Helping Students Navigate What’s Next

Congratulations! Your teen graduated high school… now what? Join our conversation where we will hear from mental health professionals and youth voices on how to be proactive and support teen mental health as they start their next journey after high school.

Panelists will share their insight as mental health champions and youth with first hand experience navigating life after high school and provide some insight on how to proactively support your student and set them up for success in whatever path they choose after graduation.



Social Media and Mental Health: What Families need to Know.

It is no secret that over the last 15 years that internet and media use has skyrocketed. Today, 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45% say they are online almost constantly. As a result, many caregivers, educators and individuals are left wondering about the impacts of social media and the digital world on their overall wellbeing.

Information covered includes:

    • How to start the conversation around internet use
    • How to set healthy media boundaries
    • Data to help understand psychological risks and emotional impacts
    • Understanding risks and how to respond to cyberbullying and more


Additional Resources:

Let’s Talk: Mental Health and Special Education

Students who have disabilities experience mental health issues at higher rates than peers without. Understanding the relationship between mental health and special education is an important piece to providing the best level of support to students and loved ones managing dual diagnoses.

In this panel discussion you will learn:

  • What types of resources are available
  • How to advocate for your child’s needs at school and in the community
  • Where to connect with other family members for support

Event Panelists:

  • Donna Bradbury, MA, LMHC – Associate Commissioner NYS OMH – Office of Prevention and Health Initiatives – NYS Office of Mental Health
  • Michael Gilberg – Special Education Attorney
  • Kathy Kieffer, MS – Retired District Special Education Administrator / Educator
  • Chris Van Houten, MA/CAS – President Elect, NY Association of School Psychologists


Additional Resources:

Winter Wellness for Families

The holiday season can be a cheerful time filled with fun, laughter and togetherness but for some it may bring with it additional stress and hardship. We know that in order to enhance our wellness during difficult times, we must focus on our mind, body and spirit.

Check out these resources as we highlight each of The 8 Dimensions of Wellness and share some practical ways for families and caregivers to stay connected, celebrate and promote wellness with their children this holiday season and all winter long.


Additional Resources: 

Fostering Wellness: Starting with the Brain

MHANYS has partnered with Pathways to Empower.  Join guest speaker Dr. Donna Volpitta in learning about Neuroscience 101, the Resilient Mindset Model, Mental Health Literacy and Brain Based Leadership.

This presentation will help you to:
– Gain a brain based understanding of the “WHY” behind behaviors
– Learn a framework for using any challenge to build resilience
– Confidently reinforce healthy, mindful decision making
– Develop a common language and strategies for discussing difficult situations, aiding in conflict resolution and prevention.
Preventing Underage Gambling
MHANYS partnered with the New York Council on Problem Gambling (NYCPG) to present Preventing Underage Gambling.
Joined with MHANYS staff was  Stelianos Canallatos  Specialist at New York Council on Problem Gambling  Recorded October 19, 2021.
Youth Suicide Prevention: What Families Need to Know
In recognition of National Suicide Prevention Month, MHANYS welcomed three guest panelists in a discussion about youth suicide prevention. Intended primarily for families and caregivers of under-served communities, they shared resources, strategies and information to help identify and support youth who may be at risk for suicide.
Joined with MHANYS staff were Garra Lloyd – Lester (Coordinator, Community and Coalition Initiatives, Suicide Prevention Center of New York), Amy Totino (Assistant Principal: Maple Ave Middle School, Saratoga Springs SD) and Nichele Darby (SPCNY taskforce focusing on developing recommendations for prevention of black youth suicide). Recorded September 22, 2021.
Coming Together: Tips for Keeping Parents, Schools and Students Connected

This recorded session focuses on two topics: providing families and caregivers ways to incorporate self-care and mindfulness into their daily routines and strategies and tips to navigate change and uncertainty with the start of a new school year.

Led by the School Mental Health Resource and Training Center’s new director, Brandon Beachamp and MHANY’s own Deborah Faust, Director of Family Engagement & Support, participants will learn the tools and skills necessary for good mental health and wellness for themselves and for the children and youth in their lives.


Culture, Family & Mental Health: A Family Strengthening Workshop for Immigrant/POC Parents & Caregivers

Mental health challenges are a rising concern among youth of color and immigrant children/children of immigrants. The unique stresses and pressures that they face prevent them from being in the best mindset to fully thrive in school, enjoy time with family/friends, and meet the daily challenges of life. For parents & caregivers, supporting youth with such challenges can be incredibly daunting, especially when so much stigma and silence surrounds mental health in cultural communities.

This workshop demystifies conversations about mental health for immigrant families & families of color, and addresses common cultural misconceptions about mental health. The workshop explores common stresses experienced by youth of color and immigrant children/children of immigrants including immigration stress, acculturation stress, race-based traumatic stress, intergenerational trauma, familial conflict, pressures to succeed, bullying, etc. Parents and caregivers are guided through practical intercultural and intergenerational communication strategies to help you talk to your child about mental health. Attendees will reflect on how their culture & community can serve as a source of strength to support the family’s collective mental health; and be challenged to lead by example through role modeling mentally healthy habits for the whole family.

The workshop facilitator, Michelle Garcia, shares lived experiences as a child of Asian American immigrants, a trauma survivor, and mental health educator for AAPI/BIPOC communities.


Let’s Talk: A Conversation with School Mental Health Staff

View the recorded session of a panel discussion where we got to know various school support personnel from across NYS, discussed the differences in their roles and talked about how they can best support you and your student.


Pandemic Parenting: Helping Kids Manage Anxiety During COVID

Learn parenting strategies to support anxious children during the pandemic. With frequently updated restrictions and guidelines, children’s needs are ever-changing and parenting challenges are common. In this workshop, you will learn concrete skills for communicating with your children, helping them manage strong emotions, supporting them in remote learning, and taking care of yourself.


To learn more, visit “Helping Kids Manage Anxiety During Covid”, written by Dr. Mazza and Dr. Hoffman.

Uplifting Black Joy: Strategies to Center Wellness, Resilience and Self-Care for Black Youth and Families
Watch the recording of this conversation with Keturah Proctor, Educator, Regional Equity Facilitator and Black Mom. Discussion was based on the importance of uplifting Black joy as a form of resilience and self-care for Black youth and families.
The Role of Family Support Specialists in Schools and Communities
Family Support Specialists are a critical community resource for families caring for youth with mental health challenges. They bring their lived experience and a passion to help families to their work in schools and communities. Watch this recorded session for an engaging conversation with Family Support Specialists and program staff to gain a better understanding of their various roles and how they can support parents and caregivers navigate the challenges associated with raising children and youth with mental health problems. Recorded January 25, 2021.
Parent to Parent of NYS is a statewide organization that connects parents of children with special needs or disabilities via email and text
Families Together in New York State provides training to become a Family Peer Advocate, as well as other trainings and resources

Parent Network of Western NY has 1:1 parent support lines in English & Spanish as well as advocacy resources in 10 languages! They serve Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Niagra, Orleans & Wyoming counties. 

JCCA services includes support to stabilize and strengthen families in crisis and provides Parent Advocates for the Child Welfare System
Achieving Whole Person Wellness
As last year came to an end, we focused on whole person wellness and strategies to promote health, using a model called the 8 Dimensions of Wellness. 
Grief and Loss: Helping Youth Heal
Grief and loss are universal experiences. Whether it is a death, loss of job or stability, or missed opportunities, managing grief is challenging and looks different for everyone. This recorded session briefly discusses different types of grief and loss experiences, the 5 stages of grief, and how it presents differently within youth. Recorded November 30, 2020.
Below is a list of resources for further learning:
Como manejar una crisis estrategias para familias y cuidadores
La mayoría de las personas experimentarán una crisis (enfermedad, pérdida, desastre natural, etc.) en sus vidas. La crisis también puede afectar a las familias. Algunas crisis afectan a comunidades enteras, mientras que otras afectan a familias individuales. Este seminario web proporcionará el conocimiento y las habilidades para promover el bienestar de toda la familia durante un momento de crisis: reconocimiento de indicadores de estrés, el desarrollo de estrategias de afrontamiento, la comunicación positiva.
Coping with a Crisis
Most families will experience a crisis (illness, loss, natural disaster, etc.) at some point. Whether it is a situation that impacts just your family or something impacting the entire community, families are affected in many ways. This webinar will provide the knowledge and tools to promote whole family wellness during a time of crisis: recognition of stress indicators, the development of coping strategies and positive communication.
Using Positive Psychology to Manage Stress in Children
Many families and caregivers are facing unprecedented hardships, and increased levels of stress and anxiety. This webinar will help caregivers understand signs and symptoms, and identify risk factors for mental health problems, as well as offer suggestions on how to positively cope and increase overall health and wellness.
Recorded October 28, 2020
Child Development 101
When providing comfort and support to a child, it can be helpful to understand the stages of psychosocial development. This webinar will provide a basic overview of child development, what mental health and wellness issues may arise during each stage, and practical strategies for supporting the healthy social-emotional growth of children.
Recorded September 30, 2020
Reflecting, Rethinking and Responding to Support Student Mental Health & Wellness: a Panel of Parents and Caregivers

Following up on our panel discussion with teachers, MHANYS School Mental Health Resource and Training Center is excited to host a virtual panel discussion from a family perspective. A change in the school environment this fall to socially distanced In-person, remote, or a hybrid model for classroom instruction will pose challenges to families, caregivers, and students, including having an impact on mental health and wellness. Hear from parents and caregivers representing a range of community demographics as they reflect on their experiences and how they are planning to support the mental health and wellness of themselves and their families this coming school year. Recorded September 3, 2020

Supporting Family Mental Wellness: Strategies for Back to School

This video uses person-centered and strengths based strategies to help families identify ways to support mental wellness for their children and themselves as they prepare to go back to school during these uncertain times. Recorded August 25, 2020

Mindfulness in the Home

This video highlights the physical and emotional benefits of mindfulness, such as enhanced whole body wellness, improved sleep, increased focus and attention, and stress reduction. Learn the basics of Mindfulness practice; simple strategies to utilize mindfulness techniques and activities in the home and as part of your family’s daily routine. Please note, the intended audience for this specific video is family and caregivers, professional development credit is not available at this time. Recorded on July 31, 2020.

Below is a list of resources for further learning:
Mind Up

Mindful Schools 
Mindfulness Yoga
Tools to Promote Mental Health & Wellness

Trauma 101 for Families and Caregivers

According to the American Psychological Association, two-thirds of children will report experiencing a traumatic event before the age of 16. As families and caregivers, it is important for us to understand the basics about trauma – what is trauma, how does it impact youth and how can we lessen the negative effects of a traumatic event. Not everyone who experiences or witnesses trauma will be impacted in the same way. This should give us hope! Help is available with a better understanding of the trauma and treatment options, and the development of coping strategies and a strong supportive network.

Below is a list of resources for further learning:
Center for Parent Information and Resources (including Spanish language materials)
Child Mind Institute Resources (including multi-lingual materials)
American Psychological Association – Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers
Video explaining brain development – “Hand Brain Model”  

MHANYS Infographics
Becoming a Resilient Family
All families face challenges and adversity. Our ability to respond to and recover from these difficulties is a measure of our resiliency. Learn how to help your family develop resiliency through clear and positive communication, flexibility, healthy coping strategies, a focus on individual and family strengths, and experiences that promote mental health and wellness.
Below is a list of resources for further learning:
Mental Health and Wellness 101 for Families

This recorded session presents mental health as a continuum of wellness and an integral part of our overall health, and encourages treatment seeking behavior and self-care to manage stress. FIND HERE

These following hand-outs were referenced in the webinar:

Coping With a Crisis

Most families will experience a crisis (illness, loss, natural disaster, etc.) at some point. Whether it is a situation that impacts just your family or something impacting the entire community, families are affected in many ways. This recorded session will provide the knowledge and tools to promote whole family wellness during a time of crisis: recognition of stress indicators, the development of coping strategies and positive communication.

Managing Stress With a Wellness Mindset

Most families experience stress as we try to juggle daily responsibilities, social activities, and work. Some stress can even be healthy. How can we better manage stress? With a “Wellness Mindset”! And, how do we develop a “Wellness Mindset”? By developing and practicing five core competencies: self-compassion and positive inner dialogue, realistic expectations and healthy boundaries, and choosing to support self-care.

Below is a list of resources for further learning:
Martin Selgiman and Positive Psychology
Brene Brown
Negativity Bias hand-out
MindUp Curriculum
Mindful Schools

The MHANYS Family Education Project webinar series is funded by:


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