Mental Health

How Therapy Dogs Help in the Classroom

Contrary to common belief, therapy dogs have a very different job from service dogs. Therapy dog services are beneficial not just for people teams visit in hospitals and nursing homes but also for students. While service dogs are dedicated to a specific owner, therapy dogs have a much broader role to play, helping people feel and stay calm. Therapy dogs can be used at an elementary level all the way through college. So, what exactly…

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The Potential Effects of Yelling at Your Kids

If you are a parent, you’ve probably lost your temper with your kids and have yelled at them at some point. Parents are only human, after all, and kids can sometimes be really good at pushing our buttons and challenging us with behavior problems such as defiance and backtalk. Yelling and losing our cool, in other words, can sometimes happen. But if yelling is an all-too-frequent occurrence in your home, it may be time for…

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Having a Pet Can Teach Your Child These 9 Things

If you’re considering having a pet, you are certainly not alone. Around 70% of households have at least one pet, and 90% of those people view their pet as a member of the family, according to Dr. Rustin Moore, the dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at The Ohio State University. In fact, children are more likely to grow up in a household with a pet than they are their biological father, says Dr.…

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What to Say and Do About School Shootings

Many Americans’ first thought after seeing school shootings in the news was likely “not again.” For parents, teachers, and school administrators, other thoughts probably followed: How will I explain this to the young people in my life? How can my school respond and help students process this tragedy? Could it happen here? The attack at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, was the deadliest school shooting since a gunman killed 26 people at Sandy Hook…

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Should All Children Be Screened for Anxiety?

An influential panel of experts says all kids ages 8 to 18 should be screened for anxiety on a regular basis. This draft recommendation by the United States Preventative Task Force comes at a time when mental health problems among kids have escalated and are overwhelming the health system. The task force also recommends that kids 12 and older continue to be screened for depression, a recommendation that’s been in place since 2016. The screenings…

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Here’s Why Your Town Library Should Hire a Social Worker

In any given community, the public library is one of the most important buildings. The library plays many roles, providing space, resources, and programming, with its doors open to all. In certain cities across the U.S., about three dozen libraries and systems currently have a social worker on staff. This number is growing as communities report the positive effects of having on-staff social workers. Libraries can often be a safe place for children and adults…

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Does Your Child Have a Tech Addiction?

In her book “Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence,” Dr. Anna Lembke makes the case for how technology, with its promise of nonstop engagement and flashing lights, can be addictive. And while addiction may make one think of drugs or alcohol, activities like video games, social media apps, and sites like YouTube can also become unhealthy addictions. Lembke, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University School of Medicine, says child tech addiction…

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How to Talk About War and the News with Kids

Families across the world have been troubled by the news and images from Russia’s invasion and the war in Ukraine. When our children turn to us to help them understand scary news, we might feel afraid of saying too much—or not enough—and so avoid a conversation that could be a powerful way to help children learn about themselves and the world. Here’s what a handful of child development experts say about what parents, teachers, and…

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Students’ Mental Health Needs Weigh Heavily on Schools

When Millis Public Schools opened its doors for the start of the 2021-22 school year, teachers and staff were looking forward to seeing their students back in real classrooms. “We were so excited that everyone was coming back to begin the school year,” says Bob Mullaney, the superintendent of the suburban Boston school district. But the transition has been more fraught than anticipated due to students’ social and mental health needs. From the beginning, they’ve…

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