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Family Education Webinar Series: Recorded Sessions

Bullying and its Mental Health Impact

Bullying can affect everyone—those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many adverse outcomes, including impacts on mental health, substance use, depression, and even suicide. Creating open channels for children to express their concerns and communicate their experiences is just half the battle.

Presented by Andre Torres, Director of Guidance and Culture and Climate
Manhattan Bridges High School (02M542)
Vice President, Directors and Supervisors
New York State School Counselling Association (NYSSCA)

Recorded May 2024.

Making the Connection: Outdoor Adventures = +Mental Health

Our mission is to get more students outdoors and to improve the health and well-being of all participants. Teaching outdoor adventure activities can be a life-changing experience for your students and is appropriate for any grade level. Delve into the research around outdoors adventures and discover the many benefits for your students, teachers, school, and community. Explore how Outdoors Tomorrow Foundation can help you start your adventure. We will share resources and information on Outdoor Adventure teaching best practices, sample lessons, and how to initiate or expand your own Outdoor Adventure Program.

Recorded April 2024.

Advocating for School Based Mental Health

Learn about MHANYS legislative initiatives for schools and higher education, including building mental health literacy in schools and colleges, training for teachers, faculty and staff, mental health excused absences, and suicide prevention policies. Discover practical ways that parents can help advocate for these policies to support the mental health and well-being of students and young adults.

Recorded March 2024.

Leading with Authenticity

Immerse yourself in an engaging discussion that goes beyond conventional leadership talks. Dr. Nelms will delve into the concept of not losing the sense of self, offering perspectives that resonate with the theme of “uplifting black joy.”

What to Expect:
Inspirational Leadership Insights
Personal Stories of Triumph
Reflections on Uplifting Black Joy
Strategies for Maintaining a Sense of Self

This was not just an event; it was an opportunity to gain profound insights from a visionary leader. Dr. Nelms’ unique perspective will leave you motivated, empowered, and with a renewed appreciation for the importance of joy in our lives.

Recorded February 2024.

Competition and Burnout: How Parents Can Help with Academic Stress, Competition, and Burnout

This session we discussed academic stress and burnout in adolescents and cover strategies and skills parents can use to help support their children.

We reviewed how parents can help support their teens to balance their workload while maintaining and building healthy habits and supporting their mental wellbeing.

Recorded January 2024.

Family Roundtable Discussion – Holiday Stress and Support (click for details)

The “most wonderful time of the year” doesn’t always feel that wonderful. Holidays are often associated with joy and excitement, but they can be stressful, overwhelming, and challenging for parents and families. The holiday season can quickly bring increased stress and anxiety, and handling these emotions and navigating this period can be challenging for both parents and children. We place high expectations on ourselves to create the perfect holiday memories and experiences for our families. Join us for this panel-style discussion where we will talk about common challenges parents and caregivers face during the holidays, stress youth and teens encounter during the holidays, and share some tips for maintaining good mental health through the holiday season.

Resource Guide

Recorded December 2023

Post-High School Transitions: A Panel Discussion (click for details)

Join us for a conversation about supporting youth as they transition out of high school. We discussed what parents and families can do to help prepare their students, what skills can help students succeed after high school, and how we can continue to support their mental health and well-being.

Resource Guide

Recorded November 2023

Pause Before You Post (click for details)

Learn about the impact social media posts can have on your student and their future opportunities. The message “Pause Before You Post” is a message that strives to get kids to pause and think before they send something or post on social media. Hear real stories, connect to real-life experiences, and share valuable messages about the impact of social media on our youth.

Resource Guide

Recorded September 2023

Family Roundtable Discussion (click for details)

How do you help your child transition from summer break to school? The summer is winding down, and we are beginning to plan for the school year. This can be stressful and cause anxiety for our youth and families. Join us for this conversation about supporting your child’s mental health through this annual transition time.

Resource Guide

Recorded August 2023

Breath-Body-Mind Practices (click for details)

Breath-Body-Mind is a breath-centered, evidence-based mind-body program for rapid relief of symptoms of stress and trauma. Our goal is to create new, safe, effective methods for helping children and families affected by severe stress. Please join senior BBM teachers Ann Fleuchaus and Linda Lentini who will lead you through a series of practices that are easy to learn and safe for almost everyone. Bring your child, bring a small stuffed animal with you to the practice session, join us for this engaging experience.

Recorded July 2023

Cultural Humility & Responsiveness: Foundations for Culturally Meaningful Mental Health Support (click for details)

Join this webinar to explore how culture impacts every aspect of a person’s mental health. This webinar will provide context for how historic marginalization of diverse communities has shaped current health disparities & disconnect from mental health supports; and give voice to the mental health experiences of BIPOC, immigrant, and LGBTQ+ populations. Speakers Michelle Garcia and Shantalee Martinez will highlight lessons from the Mental Health Community Partners (MHCP) Program Training about first steps towards practicing cultural humility, responsiveness & anti-oppression; and opportunities to be trained in the MHCP Model to further develop these skills & provide culturally meaningful mental health support. To learn more about the Mental Health Community Partners Program, visit

Resource Guide

Recorded June 2023

Impact of Gambling on Youth Mental Health (click for details)

The stakes are high for youth mental health. Join us for a conversation with Sheena Rafat-Smith from the NY Council on Problem Gambling on the impact of gambling on youth mental health. Learn about problem gambling, how it can impact our youth, and the increased risks for adverse effects on mental health.

Resource Guide

Recorded  Feb. 2023.

Co-Occurring Disorders: a conversation about Mental Health and Substance Misuse/Addiction (click for details)

Mental health and substance use disorders often go hand in hand. Co-Occurring Disorders (COD) is the combination of one or more mental health challenges and substance misuse/addiction. Join us for this important conversation with Stephanie Marquesano, founder and president of the harris-project, a non-profit focused on the prevention and treatment of COD. Launched after the death of her 19-year-old-son in 2013. Stephanie will highlight potential pathways to use, explore risk and protective factors, share tips on how to engage youth in critical conversations about COD, and empower us with knowledge about when and how to ask for help.

Resource Guide

Recorded January 2023.

Coping with Holiday Stress – Supporting Child and Family Resilience (click for details)

As the holiday season is in full swing, the excitement and stress can have an impact on our mental health.

Join us for a conversation with Dr.Vera Feuer and Brittney Chatel, LMHC from Northwell Health about stress, learn how we can support our youth mental health during these times, and promoting family resilience during the holiday season.

Resource Guide

Recorded December 2022.

Disordered Eating and its Impact on Adolescents (click for details)

For this webinar, the staff from the Western NY Comprehensive Care Center for Eating Disorders reviewed the emotional and nutritional impact of disordered eating on adolescents.

During our discussion  strategies that promote adolescent physical and mental well-being, as well as resources for care and support for adolescents and their families are covered.

The evenings panelist included:

– Dr. Tantillo – Director of the WNYCCCED

– Michelle Morales – Parent Peer Mentor

– Jennifer Dry De Santo, MSEd – Care Manager Coordinator and 2017 Teacher of the Year

Resource Guide

Recorded November 2022.

Understanding & Supporting Teen Emotional, Mental & Sexual Health (click for details)

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

The evenings panelist included:

– 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

– Amy Hysick – High School Science Teacher at CNS High School in Cicero, NYS PTA Wellness Coordinator and 2017 Teacher of the Year.

Resource Guide

Recorded October 2022.

Suicide Prevention Strategies for Families/Caregivers (click for details)

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.

Our conversation with Dr. Celia Spacone discussed 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:

Resource Guide

Recorded September 2022.

Mental Health Essentials for Back to School (click for details)

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

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

Recorded August 2022.

School, Summer Stress and Your Teen (click for details)

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.

Recorded July 2022.

Beyond Pride: Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Mental Health (click for details)

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

Resource Guide

Recorded June 2022.

Supporting Teens After High School Tips for Helping Students Navigate What’s Next (click for details)

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.

Recorded May 2022.

Social Media and Mental Health: What Families Need to Know (click for details)

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

Resource Guide

Recorded March 2022.

Let’s Talk: Mental Health and Special Education (click for details)

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

Resource Guide

Recorded January 2022.

Winter Wellness for Families (click for details)

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.

Resource Guide

Recorded December 2021

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.

Recorded November 2021.

Youth Suicide Prevention What Families Need to Know (click for details)

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 2021.

Coming Together Tips for Keeping Parents, Schools and Students Connected (click for details)

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.

Recorded August 2021.

Becoming a Resilient Family (click for details)

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.

Recorded May 2021.

Pandemic Parenting: Helping Kids Manage Anxiety During COVID (click for details)

In this recorded session, 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. Through 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.

Recorded April 2021.

Uplifting Black Joy: Strategies to Center Wellness, Resilience & Self-Care for Black Youth/Families (click for details)

Recorded March 2021.

The Role of Family Support Specialists in Schools and Communities (click for details)

Recorded January 2021.

Grief and Loss: Helping Youth Heal (click for details)

Recorded December 2020.

Fostering Resilience in Kids and Families During Challenging Times (click for details)

Melissa Castle Heatly, Ph.D., Director, Expanded School Mental Health Initiatives at Pediatric Behavioral Health & Wellness, Department of Psychiatry, University of Rochester Medical Center

While times of stress and uncertainty are profoundly challenging, they also offer opportunities to build resilience in children. This conversation reviewed the science of resilience, identify concrete strategies for how parents can support their children’s resiliency, and ways parents can develop their own resiliency during times of personal, community, and global crisis.

Recorded November 2020.

Using Positive Psychology to Manage Stress in Children (click for details)

Recorded October 2020.

Child Development 101 (click for details)

Recorded September 2020.

Supporting Family Mental Wellness Strategies for Back to School (click for details)

Recorded August 2020.

Mindfulness in the Home (click for details)

Recorded July 2020.

Mindful Moments (click for details)

Mindful Moments is a series of videos highlighting mindfulness strategies. They are easy to follow and demonstrate practices that can reduce stress and share with the people we love, to support their mental wellness too.

Wellness Backpack (click for details)

Learn how to recognize when we need to focus on stress relief and self-care, and build a ‘backpack’ of tools you can use to support your mental health and overall wellness.

Request for Speaking/Presentation