Teen Help Programs: The Internet Search

You have finally reached your wit’s end with your teenager.

You have exhausted all your local resources, your nerves are fried, you have removed all their privileges and nothing is making a difference – you are literally a hostage to your own child!

What now?

It is time for outside help… but you get online and realize first the sticker shock…. (price of programs and schools) then you see all these horror stories – EXACTLY WHO SHOULD YOU BELIEVE?

Your gut!

Years ago I was in your exact spot – and I didn’t listen my gut, and the results were not good, however it had a purpose.  The reason was to be a part of helping parents not make the mistakes I did.

When you get online you will see many toll free numbers going to places unknown.  Usually sales reps that will more than happily give you a list of programs that they believe will be perfect for your child – but how do they know?

Point is – you don’t want a sales rep – you don’t want a marketing arm, you want an owner, a director or someone that will be vested in your child’s recovery and healing process.  Someone that will be held accountable – their reputation will be reflected upon your child’s success.

I created an organization that helps educate parents to better understand the big business of residential therapy.  There are questions parents need to ask, that many don’t think about while they are desperate for help such as when will they be able to speak with their child or visit their child.

I encourage you to visit and find out more about residential therapy – especially if you are considering the next step.  Don’t wait for a crisis to happen.  Be prepared.

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Teen Drug Use: Dangers of Pot and Teens


When it comes to parenting your teenagers it is never too late or too often to talk about the dangers of drug use.

Many parents will ignore the warning signs or make excuses for them, but when reality hits home that your teen is using drugs, it is critical you get involved.  Communication is always key to prevention, however there are times when your teen is no longer listening.  It doesn’t mean you stop talking.

Intervention starts at home. If you suspect drug use, talk to your teen.  If they admit to using drugs, and are determined not to quit or even tell you they can quit if they want, take it to the next level.  Seek out local adolescent therapy or counseling.  In some cases this will be a brickwall but in other situations it can be the beginning of understanding why your teen is turning to substance abuse.

If your teen escalates to a level that is uncontrollable, or simply defiant to all your rules and boundaries – and most importantly, putting your family or themselves at risk – it may be time to think about residential therapy.  Remember, safety matters, and we are talking about the safety and health of your family.

What happens if you suspect that your teen is already using alcohol and drugs? What do you say to them? The conversation is the same: parents need to tell their kids that drug and alcohol use by teens is not allowed in your family. The issue won’t go away until you do something. You will simply have to acknowledge that your teen has a problem — your teen is using drugs and that won’t get any better until you take action on your teen’s behalf. It is OK to ask for help. In fact, getting help may make it easier for you to have the conversation.

Practice the conversation ahead of time. You may have to have a couple of “practice runs.” These conversations are not easy but they are worthwhile. Talking it over with your spouse/partner beforehand will help you keep a level head and speak to the issue. (Review some key talking points and practice these sample conversations beforehand.) – Source: Parents: The Anti-Drug

Are you considering residential therapy, contact Parents’ Universal Resource Experts for more infomation on this major decision.  It is about the safety of your family and your teenager.  Order Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen.

Sue Scheff: Young Teens Overdose on Cough Medicine

According to the Florida Sun-Sentinel, 4 students at Pioneer Middle School (ages 13-14 years old) had each taken between eight and 12 cough suppressant pills, though it was unclear if they gulped them down before school or during classes, said Mike Jachles, a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue spokesman.

Parenting teens today is challenging.  These incidents shouldn’t be our wake-up call to talk to our kids. 

Stop Medicine Abuse is an organization that helps parents learn more about drug abuse and teens. Learn more about Stop Medicine Abuse and Five Moms who are making a difference:

Recent studies among middle and high school aged kids across the country show a disturbing form of substance abuse among teens: the intentional abuse of otherwise beneficial medications, both prescription (Rx) and over-the-counter (OTC), to get high.

According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, one in five teens reports having abused a prescription drug to get high. Where OTC medicines are concerned, data from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America indicate that one in 10 teens reports having abused OTC cough medicines to get high, and 28 percent know someone who has tried it.

The ingredient the teens are abusing in OTC cough medicines is dextromethorphan, or DXM. When used according to label directions, DXM is a safe and effective ingredient approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is found in well over 100 brand-name and store-brand over-the-counter cough medicines. When abused in extreme amounts, DXM can be dangerous. was developed by the leading makers of OTC cough medicines to build awareness about this type of substance abuse behavior, provide tips to prevent it from happening, and encourage parents to safeguard their medicine cabinets. Substance abuse can touch any family: The key to keeping teens drug-free is education and talking about the dangers of abuse.

Visit Five Moms: Stop Cough Medicine Abuse for more information from parents.  Watch the short video  and learn more about what your kids ARE doing.

Also on Examiner.

Sue Scheff: Ten Myths About Suicide

Holiday’s are known as joyful time of the year, however it is also a time we hear more about suicide.  Holidays can also bring on sadness and depression to those that are suffering with a loss or simply unhappy in life.  It is important we understand warnings signs.

Carolyn Friedman, is working on her Masters and recently wrote an excellent article on “10 Common Myths About Suicide.”  She asked me to share it with my readers.  Take the time to read and learn more.  You never know when you may need this knowledge.

Suicide remains a serious epidemic that transcends socioeconomic, age, racial, religious, mental health, and gender/sexual identity boundaries. While studies do show that some groups stand at a higher risk of suicide than others – usually those already prone to social marginalization – the sad reality is that this mindset holds the potential to strike anyone, anywhere, at any point in life. Due to the mixed messages flailing about regarding the condition, it becomes progressively more difficult to objectively discuss the delineation between fact and fiction. So many misconceptions abound that the suicidal truly needing an intervention in order to survive may very well not receive the help they need to recover.

As with all issues regarding mental health, suicide especially has become the target of wrongful stigmatization. Because so many view it as a taboo or scary subject, the tragic desperation of suicide becomes pushed aside, wrongfully dismissed as histrionics or other self-serving actions. For those not working in the psychological field, explicit education in the complexities and psychological phenomena that lead individuals down the dangerous path towards suicide makes for the absolute best solution to preventing further tragedy. To learn about how it operates is to understand; to understand is to learn how to properly stop someone from succumbing to a cycle of absolute pain. Treatment is never an easy process, but it stands as the only reliable safeguard against suicide available. Individuals making the effort to personally empathize with this sad plight comprise the front lines of prevention – their compassionate efforts are what save lives and guide others to emulate their actions.

1. Suicide is just a ploy for attention. Ignoring the threats means they go away.
One of the most cruel myths regarding suicide involves perceptions that victims are using their emotions as leverage – a tool for manipulation. By acknowledging their comments, family and friends only stoke their desire for attention and validation. Not only is this misconception highly inaccurate, it also results in a higher risk of suicide attempts and fatalities. All suicide threats must go addressed, and all potential victims must not be treated as if self-serving and attention-starved. Ignoring comments and threats that so much as hint towards suicide makes for one of the most dangerous reactions on the part of family and friends. It sends a message of apathy, of not taking the victim’s pain seriously enough to discuss objectively. This only serves to further their sense of desperation; in some ways it actively encourages them to go through with plans to die. At the conclusion of this article, there is a listing of hotlines to call when the urge to commit suicide hits an individual or someone he or she very much loves. Rather than writing off self-destructive threats as merely the last resort of a melodramatic diva to gain an emotional upper hand, please call or encourage a loved one to call one of the numbers. The operators have been trained to handle their feelings in a professional, compassionate manner that will help guide them towards seeking the therapy they need for a fulfilling life.2. All suicidal people suffer from some kind of character weakness or psychosis.


At the core of every suicide, completed or thwarted, there lay a sense of overwhelming. While studies do in fact show a correlation between depression, addiction, and other common mental illnesses and suicide, not every victim suffers from one or a combination of these conditions. Psychotic patients only comprise a fraction of suicides, but not the majority. Truthfully, all persons of any age, mental state, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic bracket hold within them the capacity to kill themselves. It remains only a matter of how far they become pushed to their limits, how desperate the sense of mental, emotional, and/or physical pain eventually swells. Suicide is not a weakness. Victims frequently see it as their only escape route from overwhelming torment – a way to finally end their all-encompassing agony once and for all.

Society labels suicides as inherently psychotic or weak as a means of demonizing their behavior. In some warped way, these myths are perceived as a deterrent for those contemplating killing themselves – after all, who wants to go down perceived not as a hero, but as weak or crazy? Wrongfully classifying genuine suffering as a sign of frailty or psychosis acts as a projection of society onto the victim. The only true weakness here lay in peoples’ inability or unwillingness to address the true gravity of suicide and constant spread of outright lies about the condition. Strength only factors in when an individual is willing to admit that they, too, have a threshold whereby they may become so desperate as to consider suicide a viable option. By acknowledging this one tragic but universal kernel of humanity, they may go on to help preserve the lives of others who may find themselves struggling with the urge to escape pain through death.

3. Those who survive suicide attempts won’t try it again.

Suicide is not a plea for attention. It expresses an extreme desire to slough off overwhelming stress and anxiety, and the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that for every death by suicide, another 12-25 survive their attempts. Many believe that living through a potentially fatal self-injury automatically inspires victims to seize life and never try to hurt themselves again. Reality says otherwise. Survivors run a very high risk of repeating their actions later on in life, and professionals agree that one of the highest indicators of a potential fatality is a record of prior attempts. Those who live through suicidal acts must seek psychological assistance immediately upon recovery. Cognitive therapy has been shown to reduce further suicide attempts by 50% within a year following the initial incident. Instead of perceiving survival as a wake-up call for the fleeting preciousness of life, family and friends of the victim need to think of it as an indicator of future risk and respond accordingly The only responsible reaction encourages therapy as the most viable solution to prevent further incidents.

4. Talking to someone who is suicidal about suicide just makes the urge even worse.

When a friend or family member begins opening up and admitting suicidal thoughts, ignoring their comments or changing the subject actually pushes them further towards going through with these actions. Talking about suicide with a loved one openly and objectively serves as a safeguard until the victim receives professional help. If confronted with a potentially suicidal situation, the best reaction is to call an emergency number (such as 911 in the United States or 999 in some countries in Europe and Asia or a suicide hotline so the individual connects with people trained to handle their situation. Never leave the victim unattended, and be sure to clear the room of any firearms or other potentially deadly devices. By acknowledging their status as suicidal, friends and family may actually stave off fatal behavior. Victims want help, they want someone to intervene and assist them in combating the swarming demons of overwhelming desperation they face daily. Talking to them may not always reduce the urge, but it never actively encourages them to follow through with suicide, either. A proper reaction that proactively guides victims into valuable therapy shows the compassion, love, and care that they need to try and make themselves healthier. Only ignoring or making little effort to understand the issue stimulates the urge to commit suicide.

5. Suicide occurs without warning; there are no ways to prevent it.

Individuals with the following traits run a higher risk of committing suicide: depression or anxiety disorders, substance abuse, prior attempts, victim of sexual or physical abuse, family or friend of a suicide victim, incarceration, gun ownership, and social marginalization. Obviously, potential suicides do not always carry one or more of these traits, nor do they inherently indicate suicidal behavior. However, educating oneself on what sort of factors to look out for and who suffers the biggest risk makes for the best method of prevention possible. Putting forth the effort to understand and look out for the warning signs may mean the difference between life and death.

If a friend of family member begins displaying some early signs of suicidal thoughts or behavior, their loved ones are partially responsible for intervening and preventing attempts. Social withdrawal, a preoccupation with death, the intensification of depressive behavior, apathy, engaging in risky behaviors, attempting to tie up loose ends, and – in extreme cases – writing up a will, saying goodbye to people, and outright discussing wanting to die all stand out as signifiers of a potential suicide. Also look out for a major shift from extreme depression to an overall sense of calm. This indicates that the victim may have found peace and comfort in a decision to kill him- or herself and needs to be dealt with before following through with it. While variables always inevitably creep in, the aforementioned red flags generally point towards disconcerting behavior that must be addressed before it becomes too late.

6. Suicidal people just want to die, and it’s impossible to talk them down.

The decision to commit suicide is not static. If an individual begins opening up about desiring death, it is possible for them to step down from their choice. While the understanding and support from family and friends remains the first line of defense, therapy remains the only viable long-term solution to prevent suicide. Even if a victim gives up on his or her decision to die due to the assistance of a loved one with all the right ideas and preparations, regular sessions with a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist reduces the risk of suicide by half after one year – something that love and compassion from friends and family alone cannot achieve. If an individual suffers from an immediate risk of suicide, then dialing an emergency number will provide access to professionals far better equipped to handle the direness of the situation. Never, under any circumstances, leave them unattended for any period of time until help arrives.

7. An improvement in emotional state means the risk of suicide is lowered.

Frequently, the opposite of this statement is the truism. One of the biggest warning signs that an individual may follow through with plans to commit suicide is a rapid shift between despair and overarching calm, even happiness. Even if the victim currently attends therapy sessions, rarely do moods alter so dramatically from negative to positive. Signs of peace after a severe and prolonged bout of hopelessness or depression may signal the decision to commit suicide as a permanent solution to overwhelming problems. Be sure to keep a sharp eye out for the other indicators mentioned earlier if the victim’s mood rapidly improves without provocation.

8. Unsuccessful suicide attempts means the victim never cared to die in the first place.

Individuals survive suicide attempts for any number of reasons. Happenstance or the timely intervention of a loved one usually accounts for a victim not fully succumbing to death. Depending on the method, victims may even end up critically injured or in a coma. A number of different factors make up the difference between a fatality and a survival, but just because an individual lives through a suicide attempt does not mean they were never serious about dying in the first place. Actually, the fact that they even tried to commit suicide in the first place ought to explicitly tip off friends and family that the victim honestly wants to end his or her life. In fact, suicide survivors run a higher risk of future attempts, so it is integral that they seek professional help immediately in order to prevent further incidents.

9. Telling the suicidal to cheer up will help.

Much like clinical depression – a mental illness which comprises almost 90% of suicide cases each year – victims do not turn around simply by being told to cheer up and remain positive. A considerable amount of overwhelming mental, emotional, and/or physical pain factors into suicidal thoughts and actions, and while support and compassion can certainly help bring a victim back down from the brink it is unfortunately not enough to solve all of the underlining issues. Only professional therapy through a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist can really dissect a patients’ problems and help nurture the mindsets and skills necessary for practicing healthy coping mechanisms in the long run. It is not a matter of merely cheering up. It is a matter of confronting the torment that leads them to perceive death as the only viable option to escape the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.

10. Suicidal thoughts need to be kept secret so as not to embarrass or upset anyone.

Because suicide comes yoked with so many misunderstandings labeling the victims as weak, psychotic, or desperate for attention, it has sadly become a shameful, demonized subject too taboo to discuss objectively. Those feeling the tug of wanting to die are led to believe that they must simply choke back and fight the urge. They fear broaching such a hefty, weighty subject with loved ones because of how society unfairly paints their plight, believing that honesty may result in ostracizing of further marginalization. Truthfully, any time suicidal thoughts crop up they must be expressed to someone trustworthy – a family member, a friend, a hotline number, or a therapist. No matter what, there is always somebody out there willing to offer an ear and advice on finding a professional who will help quell the suffering in the long term. While friends and family will never react positively to news of suicidal thoughts, they would much rather address the issue as it arises instead of bury a loved one. Never be ashamed to the point of suppressing suicidal feelings. Openness and honesty between the victim and trusted peers means the difference between life and death.

Only by making an effort to truly understand the realities behind suicide can humanity honestly hope to prevent it. The previous ten myths only sadly skim the surface of an overarching social issue. Far too many frown more upon the persons feeling suicidal rather than the act itself, further pushing them towards a desperate act. Fortunately, concerned friends, family, and mental health professionals with the right intentions and ideas towards approaching the subject have a number of extremely valuable resources at their disposal.

If a loved one appears to be in immediate danger, dial 911, 999, or other emergency number and do not leave their side until professional help arrives. Remove any and all weaponry, toxins, and other hazards from the vicinity. Those considering suicide in the United States may call 1-800-SUICIDE for Hopeline and 1-800-273-TALK for Suicide Prevention Lifeline. SPL also offers a deaf hotline at 1-800-779-4TTY. Individual states and cities may also provide phone numbers to dial in the event of suicidal thoughts and behaviors as well. Befrienders Worldwide lists hotlines from a large number of nations for those needing help outside the US. Remember that while these phone numbers play an integral roll in pulling victims back from their suicidal inclinations, they are intended only as a stepping stone towards a long-term solution rather than the solution in and of itself. Only professional therapy addresses the core issues that lead to suicide, and anyone considering it as an option to escape the overwhelming pain must find a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to get the help they need in order to live a healthy life away from their demons.

Sue Scheff: Teen Suicide Prevention Week

communicating-with-teenAs you have probably heard before, talking to your teen about suicide is one of the most important things you can do in helping to prevent a suicide attempt. Many times parents are unsure of what to say and instead say nothing. Here are some suggestions of how you can open the channels of communication and help your teen open up.

First, tell your teen you care; no matter the state of your relationship, just hearing this can go a long way. Tell your teen you are there if needed, and are willing to listen without judging. NAMI estimates that around 80% of all teens who attempt suicide give some sort of verbal or nonverbal warning beforehand, so be sure to take whatever your teen says completely seriously.

A common mistake parents make when dealing with a suicidal teen is thinking that if they mention suicide they will be planting the idea in their teen’s brain. This is simply not accurate. In fact, by mentioning your fears, you are showing your teen that you take their actions and their life seriously. Remember, most people who are suicidal do not really want to die- they want to put an end to the suffering they are experiencing. When given an opportunity to be helped through that suffering, or when some of that suffering is alleviated by knowing they aren’t alone, this can help reduce the desire to end the pain by more drastic means.

Did you know? (Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention)

Worldwide over 1,000,000 people die each year by suicide.

The CDC’s most recent report shows the largest One-Year Increase in Youth Suicide Rate in 15 Years

Suicide takes the lives of over 2,400 Floridians and over 33,300 Americans in 2007.

Suicide is the 11th cause of death in the Americans.

In 2004, there were 2,382 reported suicide deaths in Florida.

In Broward County Florida the youngest documented child to complete suicide was 9 years of age.

Florida has the 2nd highest number of suicides in the Nation and ranks #13 highest rate of all the states [2001].

Florida has more than two times the number of suicides than homicides or deaths by HIV/AIDS.

Every 43 seconds someone in the U.S. attempts suicide; Every 17 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.

For every single completed suicide there are at least 25 attempts!

Each person who dies by suicide leaves behind an average of eight loved ones or survivors, not to mention friends, co-workers, schoolmates and religious affiliates
For more info: Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Florida Initiative for Suicide Prevention, Teen Suicide, National Institude of Mental Health, NAMI.

Also on

Sue Scheff: Teen Substance Abuse and Use is a continuous source of educational articles for parents of toddlers to teens. I check in with them regularly (browsing their extensive website), as they always have up-to-date information regarding today’s teens.  From helpful homework tips, to parents struggling with at risk teens – offers a wealth of information.  Visit and learn more!  Since I have received many calls this week from parents with the fear their teen (or sadly, tween) may be using drugs, this seems like a timely article as summer just begins.

NYUchildstudySubstance Use and Abuse in Teens

by Richard Gallagher, Ph.D.
Source: NYU Child Study Center

Teen substance use is a problem that persists, but communities, schools and parents can play a crucial role in a coordinated plan of deterrence. Parents need to stay informed of the risks that teens face. Several patterns highlight the issues adults need to address in assisting teens:

Three main substances account for the majority of substance use and abuse by youth

Tobacco (in the form of cigarettes), alcohol, and marijuana have been the most widely used substances by teens for several decades. During the last several years, the use of each of these substances has decreased significantly, but substantial minorities of teens try these substances and engage in current use.

Statistics show that the majority of youth have tried cigarettes and alcohol by the end of their teen years, and 1 in 5 teens indicate current substance use. Significantly, the order in which teens are likely to try substances starts with tobacco, shortly followed by alcohol, and then marijuana, with youngsters starting experimentation around 12 years of age. For many youngsters, tobacco experimentation is a gateway to other substance use. This data suggests that all parents need to be alert to the possibility that their children will try substances and may move on to regular use.

Use of other substances follow trends

Just as fashions change, so do the substances with which teens get involved. Cocaine, crack, heroin, and club drugs such as ecstasy have been prevalent at times. In the last years, young people are also using prescription drugs, most notably painkillers, but also some psychiatric medications used to treat Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and anxiety and depressive disorders. Additionally, some kids seem ready to try any item or activity that can give them exciting sensations or an altered mental state. These latter items and activities include inhaling cleaning fluids or paint, self-induced oxygen deprivation by choking oneself for short periods of time or getting the breath squeezed out by someone else, and using pressurized air (used to clean electronic equipment) to knock out oxygen. All of these items or activities add a substance to the body that creates a changed mental status or deprive the brain of oxygen, which also creates a changed mental status. Informal contacts among teens and some Internet interchanges helps them find out about these trends and the “joys” associated with them.

Reasons teens turn to substances

In the early teen years, teens get involved in substances for two main reasons: curiosity and peer pressure. When the opportunity to try a substance presents itself, most kids are in small groups. Some in the group are likely to enjoy taking risks and seeking sensations that are exciting. These children are often the ones that seek out and obtain the substances from older teens or from supplies that they find at home or from relatives, in the case of tobacco and alcohol. Others may be there as part of the social cluster and get exposed through the actions of their sensation-seeking friends. The children motivated by curiosity often wish to find out what all the talk and fuss is about. They may want to know what it is like to feel high or drunk or what cigarettes taste like. Others in the group may feel pressured to participate either through direct request or because they do not wish to stand out as the only one not going along.

From first use, the brief altered states associated with substances often inspire teens to continue use. Youngsters often enjoy being high or drunk and will frequently seek out repeat experiences. Once youngsters are aware of these experiences, they sometimes continue to seek altered states as a way to escape problems and seek pleasure that they are not gaining elsewhere in their lives. In the case of tobacco, early experiences are rarely pleasant, so peer pressure or the belief that use is a status symbol often keeps teens involved. Soon after initial exposures, however, teens are very prone to addiction to tobacco, which occurs with greater speed than in adults.

Children most prone to get involved in substance use

As indicated above, many teens are prone to experiment with a single use of substances. Those that are involved with persistent use and current use are more likely to have some characteristics. First, teens are more prone to use if they have monetary resources. So, teens from well-off neighborhoods or those with jobs are more likely to use. Second, use is more likely if teens are facing tough challenges in school or are disconnected from school. Thus, students with learning disabilities or developmental disorders as well as kids who feel alienated from the life of their school are prone to use. Third, certain personality characteristics lead to greater risk. Those teens that are afflicted with social anxiety may find substances ease their tension, especially marijuana and alcohol. Children with Attention- Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder are also more susceptible to the use of tobacco, possibly as a means of improving their concentration, which nicotine does do. Finally, teens who have relatives that use or have had substance abuse disorders are at increased risk for use.

What Parents Can Do

A large collection of research suggests that parents need to take active steps to decrease the likelihood that their children will use substances. Several useful steps include:

  • Diminish the amount of uncontrolled exposure of children to substance use. When children observe substance use, they learn that use is an acceptable action. They need to have controlled exposure to learn the rules of acceptable use.
  • Parents need to be ready to comment on the substance use that their children observe. Parents need to make it clear how they want their children to handle substances.
  • Remember that children receive messages from what they see. So, if members of the family use legal substances, it is best that children observe responsible use. In the case of tobacco use, even legal use by adults should be accompanied by a clear statement of your expectations that you do not want your children to use these products, ever.
  • Provide comments on the use that your children observe in media and entertainment outlets. Tobacco use, alcohol use, and drug use are shown in movies, television shows, and music videos. Take advantage of these instances to indicate what you think and how you expect your children to behave.
  • Limit the access your children have to substances. Teens use substances that are available. They report that they take cigarettes from relatives, sneak alcohol from home stocks, and obtain marijuana from people that they know well.
  • Inform your children about the honest dangers that are associated with the main substances. Although teens are not highly influenced by such information, some discussion of negative consequences has some impact on the decisions that they make.
  • Clearly state what actions you expect your teen to take when confronted with substance use. Teens who know what their parents expect of them are much less likely to use substances.
  • Help your teen find leisure activities and places for leisure activities that are substance-free. Then, keep track of where, with whom, and what your teen is doing after school and other free times.
  • Keep informed by seeking out resources for parents available on the Internet, through schools, and at local libraries.

Prospects for Parents to Act to Prevent Substance Abuse

At the NYU Child Study Center, we are exploring further steps that parents can take to keep their teens substance-free. We are testing the impact that workshops for parents of middle school students have on improving parenting practices and what effect those practices have on the children’s substance use during their high school years. We have taken a preventative approach, believing that targeted efforts by parents, when their children are in the age range in which substance exposure occurs, will diminish the amount of experimentation and regular use their children will undertake. A full trial of the effort is underway with follow-up of parents and teens from over 400 families. The project, Thriving Teens: Parenting Practices for Positive Growth, should provide useful insight into how parents can help their teens avoid risky actions. Provision of Thriving Teens to parents’ organizations or school district anti-drug campaigns is possible by contacting the Child Study Center at 212-263-3663.

About the NYU Child Study Center

The NYU Child Study Center is dedicated to the research, prevention, and treatment of child and adolescent psychiatric issues. The Center offers evaluation and treatment for children and teenagers with mental health problems including anxiety, depression, learning or attention difficulties, and trauma and stress-related symptoms.

We offer a limited number of clinical studies at no cost for specific disorders and age groups. To see if your child would be appropriate for one of these studies, please call (212) 263-8916.

The NYU Child Study Center also offers workshops and lectures for parents, educators and mental health professionals on a variety of mental health and parenting topics. The Family Education Series consists of 13 informative workshops focused on child behavioral and attentional difficulties. To learn more or to request a speaker, please call (212) 263-8861.

For further information, guidelines and practical suggestions on child mental health and parenting issues, please visit the NYU Child Study Center’s website,

Follow on Twitter at @Education_com

Sue Scheff: Teen Depression

usatodayAs I saw on the news last night, experts are saying that parents with children between the ages of 12-18 should have them screened for depression.  It is not about promoting medication, it is about helping to understand if there are areas in their lives that can be causing stress and anxiety that can leave to making negative choices such has experimenting with substance abuse, hanging with a  less than desirable peer group, feelings of low self worth, etc.  Like adults, children can be prone to depression and stress and not mature enough to understand these feelings.  With this, acting out in a negative way can follow.  Take time to learn more.

Source: USA Today

Experts: Doctors should screen teens for depression.

If you have teens or tweens, government-appointed experts have a message: U.S. adolescents should be routinely screened for major depression by their primary care doctors. The benefits of screening kids 12 to 18 years old outweigh any risks if doctors can assure an accurate diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care, says the independent U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

It’s a change from the group’s 2002 report concluding there wasn’t enough evidence to support or oppose screening for teens. The task force, though, says there’s still insufficient proof about the benefits and harms of screening children 7 to 11 years old.

Depression strikes about 1 out of 20 teens, and it’s been linked to lower grades, more physical illness and drug use, as well as early pregnancy. 

Questionnaires can accurately identify teens prone to depression, plus there’s new evidence that therapy and/or some antidepressants can benefit them, the expert panel says in a report in today’s Pediatrics .  But careful monitoring is vital since there’s “convincing evidence” that antidepressants can increase suicidal behavior in teens, the report says.

Accompanying the task force advisory in Pediatrics is a research review saying there have been few studies on the accuracy of depression screening tests, but the tests “have performed fairly well” among adolescents.  Treatment can knock down symptoms of depression, say the reviewers from Kaiser Permanente and the Oregon Evidence-Based Practice Center in Portland, Ore. 

In a “show me the money” volley back, pediatricians also weigh in on the topic in today’s issue of their journal. Insurance plans and managed care companies that stiff or under-pay pediatricians for mental health services throw up barriers to mental health care in doctors’ offices, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.  Kids’ doctors should be compensated for screenings, as well as consults with mental health specialists and parents, AAP recommends.