On March 9, Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) hosted a behavioral health conference at Thomas Stone High School, inviting middle and high school students and their parents/caregivers to attend. The conference aimed to provide resources for parents/caregivers to learn more ways to support their children and for middle and high school students to learn how to support their overall well-being.

Thomas Stone High School was transformed into a behavioral health expo with workshops throughout the school, resource stations, and a mental health keynote speaker, Mike Veny, in the main auditorium. Presenters discussed the effects of cyberbullying in adolescents and children, and how to thrive in a post-pandemic society. Session target audiences ranged from parents to students to both.

Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) middle and high school students, along with their parents and caregivers were invited to attend the behavioral health conference at Thomas Stone High School. The event housed various resources to help support the overall well-being of students. Credit: Charles County Public Schools

Veronica Renderos, a licensed master social worker (LMSW) at Youme Healthcare, said, “Our goal for the presentation is to give parents tools to know how to support their children when they do experience cyberbullying.”

Several organizations attended the event, including the Maryland Coalition of Families, the Parents’ Place of Maryland, Charles County Health Department, ABC Fitness Connection, and Stella’s Girls. Stations sprinkled in the cafeteria consisted of stress relief tools such as pop it fidgets and stress balls. Tables also had mental health brochures, free Narcan training, and healthy nutrition demonstrations.

The conference was aimed to address the rising concerns over mental health and cyberbullying, especially among adolescents and children. Many experts agree that the pandemic has had an adverse impact on mental health, with the isolation and the sudden shift to online learning. As a result, many students are experiencing anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Cyberbullying has also become a growing concern, with the rise of social media and online interactions.

The behavioral health conference provided a platform for parents, caregivers, and students to learn about the available resources to address mental health concerns and cyberbullying. The workshops focused on how to identify the signs of mental health issues and how to provide support for individuals experiencing them. They also discussed ways to prevent cyberbullying and how to respond when it happens.

Mike Veny, the keynote speaker, shared his own experiences with mental health and how he overcame his struggles. He encouraged students to reach out for help when they need it and emphasized the importance of seeking professional help.

The event was well-received by the attendees, who appreciated the opportunity to learn about mental health and cyberbullying. One parent said, “It’s great to see that the school is taking proactive measures to address these issues.”

Overall, the behavioral health conference was a success, providing valuable information and resources to students and parents. It is hoped that the event will help raise awareness about the importance of mental health and the need to address cyberbullying.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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