HC Counseling Newsletter
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What's Trending: Vaping
What: Electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS), also known as vaping and e-cigarettes.
Common Names: E-Cigarettes/E-Cigs, Vape, Vaping
The brand JUUL accounts for 72% of all e-cigarettes on the market
The nicotine in one JUUL pod equals the amount of nicotine in a pack of cigarettes
Other harmful ingredients: diacetyl (linked to serious lung disease), heavy metals (lead, tin, nickel), ultrafine particles
ENDS Cartridges that contain THC oil (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana) are available in states where recreational marijuana is legal and the smell is often concealed with other flavors
One study from CT showed 18% of high school students who vaped nicotine had also vaped marijuana
Who is Using: 1 in 6 high school students reported using e-cigarettes in the past month 2015
When & Where They Use: Many vaping devices look like USB devices and are easy to conceal (such as in backpacks or in sleeves of clothing), which allows people to vape at any point
Why It Matters: Using vaping devices and e-cigarettes during adolescence can cause addiction and harm as the brain develops. Potential legalization of recreational marijuana in NJ can also affect what vaping devices are accessible to youth
Recent News on How It’s Being Addressed:
IMPORTANT VIDEO RESOURCE:
Dr. Jeffrey Moore recently sat down with Addiction Specialist Elizabeth Manner to ask critical questions about vaping and teenagers. All parents are urged to view this timely and important video interview.
Click on the link to watch the video.
The Importance of Being a Good Listener
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services, approximately one out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly one third show symptoms of depression.
These numbers are alarming, and the American Psychological Association's survey of adolescents aged 13-17 showed that teens frequently experience unhealthy levels of stress.
According to the survey, school is the top source of stress for teens, followed by the pressure of getting into a good college or deciding what to do after high school. The survey found that more than 25% of teens report symptoms including neglecting responsibilities, feeling overwhelmed, having negative thoughts or changes in sleeping habits. More than 33% reported feeling tired, feeling nervous or anxious, or experiencing irritability and anger. And 33% said that they weren't sure if they were doing enough to manage their stress.
So ... what can parents do to help?
The easiest - and possibly most important - thing that parents can do for teens is to listen. Talk less and listen more is an excellent mantra for parents. The very act of listening is pure gold for teens; it may be one of the best stress relievers they can find. When someone values teens enough to stop and listen, they start to feel worthy ... and children who feel worthy behave in safe and positive ways. Listening may be one of the most protective things you can do for your teenager.
How to listen? Very simply ... say nothing and allow them to share with you. You might nod your head or add some "hmms" or "wows", if the conversation allows it. You might ask a question or two, but it's important to be sensitive and not ask blaming questions. (How could you do that?) Instead, ask questions that show you empathize with what your child is saying. (That must have been tough - how do you plan to handle that?)
Talking less and listening more is an important tool that may actually open a beneficial dialogue between you and your teenager, while providing a safe outlet for teenage stress and anxiety.
What else can you do to help?
Recently, Dr. Jeffrey Moore had a conversation about teenage anxiety, depression and stress with Cheryl Oostdyk, a Behavioral Specialist at Hunterdon Behavioral Health. He asked some important questions: What are common anxiety and depression triggers in teens? What are the warning signals that these feelings are reaching dangerous levels? Who can help?
Click on the link to watch the video, for some important information and answers to those questions.
Additional resources on teenage stress, anxiety and depression are available on these websites:
This webpage by the Centers for Disease Control provides practical advice on how to deal with stress.
Adolescent Mental Health Resources & Publications This webpage, by the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, provides a valuable list of online resources for adolescent mental health issues.
Top 10 Tips To Manage Stress
Remember ... how you think has a huge impact on how you feel. “I’m concerned” is a lot easier to take than “I’m freaking out!” Changing stressful self-talk from catastrophizing to being more rational goes a long way towards easing stress.
It is impossible to be stressed if your body is calm. Relaxation exercises are an essential component to any stress-reduction program. Research “stress management” for some ideas that would work for you.
Create balance in your life. Too much of anything is not good, and that includes work. Be sure you break up your day with a variety of things and carve out some “down time” daily. It sounds like old-fashioned advice, but it works.
Get the sprinkles. Take the time to stop for that pumpkin latte, buy the new shirt, get a manicure. When you pat yourself on the outside, you pat yourself on the inside.
Exercise. Daily moderate exercise is now being prescribed by many physicians who treat depression and anxiety - and for good reason. It calms stress and lifts mood. Research bears this out. Try researching “exercise and mood” or “exercise and anxiety” and see the results. A 30-minute walk every day is almost guaranteed to ease stress in a noticeable way.
Problem-solve. Stress is often created by having problems on your mind that you haven’t figured out. Take time to write out a plan on how to solve or work around the things that are bothering you. Guess what? The more it’s on paper, the less it’s on your mind.
Be emotionally flexible. Perfectionism, the need for control, and the need for approval all will bite you sooner or later, so figure them out now.
Change “I have to” to “I choose to”. Thoughts like, “I have to flip out - this project is due tomorrow”, keep you stuck and pretty much guarantee a bad night. When you change your thinking to “I choose to flip out”, it allows you to see that there may be other choices you can make.
Change “I can’t” to “Up until now”. In a similar way, saying “I can’t tolerate this job” keeps you stuck. Saying “Up until now, this job has been difficult” opens the door to the possibility that things might be different in the future.
Change channels. When we're down, It’s easy to focus only on the things that are going wrong. Changing your focus to positives boosts your mood.
At Central, we've been talking a lot about mindfulness lately.
Simply put, mindfulness is the acceptance of the present. It's being aware of, and open to, the present moment, just as it is, without judgment.
There are research-based reasons why being mindful is good for us. For starters, mindfulness has been shown to have a positive impact on attention, focus, emotional regulation, empathy, compassion, as well as on reducing stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness is more than something you “do.” It's a way of living. It's noticing, accepting, and appreciating.
Mindfulness is not a magic wand. It doesn't take away the trials and tribulations that we face from day to day. We still experience the unpleasant parts of our lives that cause us stress, anxiety, and pain.
However, living mindfully gives us a new framework through which to view these events.
With mindful living, it's easier to not sweat the small stuff. It's easier to appreciate things, people, and moments in our lives. It's easier to be open to the realization that our thoughts do not define us. It's easier to approach others and ourselves with compassion.
It's easier to breathe and enjoy the moment.
That’s all it takes. One minute during the day can make a difference.
Recently, several of our student sat down to talk about mindfulness with Social Studies teacher Lindsay Warren, D. Litt. Click on the link to watch the video, and find out why mindfulness has become an important part of their lives.
Did You Know: SAFE in Hunterdon
SAFE in Hunterdon provides support for adults, children (ages 3+), and families affected by domestic and sexual violence.
SAFE in Hunterdon offers services like these:
24 Hour Assistance Hotline - (888-988-4033) for support and resources
Child and Adolescent Services: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma-Focused CBT, Creative Arts Therapy, Safety Planning
Safe and Transitional Housing
Legal Advocacy and Representation
For more information contact:
SAFE in Hunterdon
47 E. Main St
Flemington, NJ 08822