• CHHS's Mental Health Library Collection & Current Events

    CHHS Poetry Anthology Project

    The CHHS Media Center team is currently housing a collection of poems on a website, called the CHHS Poetry Anthology Project. The vision for this project is for any lover of poetry or the written word can come to this website and receive the gift of motivation and inspiration at any time. Visit this website to hear amazing poems read by our own CHHS staff and students!

     

    CHHS Mental Health Library Collection 

    Click the link above to view the CHHS Mental Health Library Collection, which includes books on Mindfulness, Positivity, Anxiety, and Stress. 



  • May is Mental Health Awareness Month

    Posted by Erich Priest on 5/14/2020

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month! This month's work is centered around the awareness and promotion of mental health, and in reducing the stigma associated with seeking support. Now more than ever we may find ourselves becoming aware of just how much our mental health impacts our overall well-being: our thoughts, feelings, comfort level, productivity, and sleep. This month give yourself permission to see your mental health as integral to your overall health. Realize that mental health and wellness is something that we are all working towards in one way or another, and is not just something to be of concern for those who have specific challenges. All of us will need support at some point in our lives - and this does not mean that we are weak, broken, or incapable. It takes courage to reach out when we are not sure that there is a helping hand waiting for us. Let us work to be those helping hands for each other during this time. Check out the mental health resources provided in this Tiger Tidbit to get started, and let your Administrators, Teachers, Counselors, Social Workers, and/or Mental Health Specilaist know how we can reach out for you!

     

    Supporting Friends During COVID-19

    NAMI COVID-19 Guide

    NAMI Online Knowledge Center HelpLink

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  • Working towards Happiness and Feeling Calm

    Posted by Erich Priest on 4/29/2020

    Most of us know that Happiness is a feeling, and can also be described as a thought. The same can be said for having a sense of Calmness. Yet how do we work towards having more of these Happy times in our busy and overwhelming day-to-day lives? Is this even possible? Science says, Yes! While genetics and circumstances may impact your level of Happiness, research shows that our actions and efforts can help balance the scales - AND can help us to increase our "ability to combat stress" and the impacts of trauma (NIHCM). Some actions that we can take involve developing habits that help us feel calm and centered. These include: having a routine or ritual to create a sense of certainty, trying not to take things personally, intentionally creating habits to cope with stress, and reducing the "noise" of our day (zenhabits.net). Working towards experiencing more Happiness and Calmness is a journey and a process. Check out the resources provided in this Tiger Tidbit, and let your CHHS staff and Student Services know how we can stand beside you on your journey!

     

    NIHCM's The Science of Happiness, Health, & Well-Being

    NIHCM's The Science of Well-Being & Why it Matters (webinar)

    Zen Habits: The 7 Habits of Calmness

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  • Maintaining Connections during Physical Distancing

    Posted by Erich Priest on 4/15/2020

    As our students, staff, and families begin Phase 2 of Extended Learning we also continue the work of finding different ways to learn and commuicate, take care of others, and take care of ourselves. Now more than ever we can see that having connections with others is a basic human need. Yet how do we do that with physical distancing, and still persever? Researchers are telling us that many of these strategies can be pretty basic: Use "I" statments and practice active listening to improve communication skills, try small acts of gratitude and kindness, and take care of your mind and body through mindfulness, exercise, and regular sleep. Examples can include making time to plan fun activities, spending time talking about goals and values, taking mindfulness walks together, and checking in with friends and family on the phone or virtually. These types of strategies can also help us feel more productive and motivated to continue the work of Extended Learning. Continue to reach out to CHHS staff and Student Services with any questions, concerns, or ideas about how to stay connected.

     

    Psychology Today: Practice Physical Distancing, Not Social Distancing (online article)

    CDC's Stress and Coping (website and resources)

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) PDF on Coping w/ Stress During Infectious Disease Outbreaks

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  • Extended Learning/At-Home Learning

    Posted by Erich Priest on 4/1/2020

    In the wake of COVID-19 (coronavirus) we have already faced so many changes, challenges, and unprecedented transitions, and yet it is in these challenges that we Tigers strive to see opportunities to learn about ourselves and each other. Our school system and communities have also had to shift drastically to be able to respond to these ever-changing circumstances, including public school closures through May 15th, 2020, and a shift to "Extended Learning" (aka At-Home Learning). In order to help students, families, and staff navigate the transition to Extended Learning, which began 3/30/2020, the CHCCS District has created a website (https://www.chccs.org/domain/4023) that features Expectations, Student/Family Resources, Learning Plans, and Tech Support. CHHS would also like to remind students and families that we will all be learning and discovering together. CHHS Student Services is still here to support that learning process. CHHS Counselors, School Social Workers, the School Nurse, and the Mental Health Specialist are all working together to discover how we can better address the continued and evolving needs of our CHHS students and families. Please continue to reach out and help us learn the best ways we can all work together to ensure a healthy and rewarding experience this school year.

     

    CHCCS At-Home Learning Website

    CHHS COVID-19 Response & Resources Website

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  • Student School Avoidance

    Posted by Erich Priest on 3/18/2020

    School avoidance, sometimes referred to "school refusal" when behaviors become more severe, is not a new phenomenon; although, if your teen begins to show possible signs and symptoms it can certainly feel like it came out of nowhere. School avoidance can look like skipping class, wanting to stay home sick, spending time in the nurse's office or wandering out of class, and/or leaving school early without permission. Typically, a teen tries to use these undesirable strategies to avoid stressful parts of the day, such as feeling unsafe, feeling unprepared for a class, and/or feeling that they may be harshly criticized (AADA.org). The trouble with avoidance is that it may only work well in the short term; eventually homework piles up, teachers beginning contacting parents/guardians, and the student feels more pressure to perform. Experts recommend that caregivers be on the lookout for signs of avoidance, gradually increase exposure to school, talk with your teen about their thoughts and fears, communicate with Student Services and teachers, make staying at home boring, emphasize the positive aspects of school, and help your teen build a responsive support system at school of peers and adults alike (Burch, 2018; AADA.org). Reach out to your student's assigned Administrator, Social Worker, Counselor, and/or Mental Health Specialist for additional information and resources.

    https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/school-refusal-when-a-child-wont-go-to-school-2018091814756

    https://adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/school-refusal

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  • Self-Harm/Non-Suicidal Self Injury (NSSI)

    Posted by Erich Priest on 3/3/2020

    Self harm, also known as "Non-suidical self-injury (NSSI) has become more common than most people expect" (teenmentalhealth.org). NSSI includes actions such as cutting, burning, hitting, and/or scratching oneself on purpose without the intention of suicide. Females, and those experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, are statistically more likely to self-harm due to increased risk factors; although, the behavior is seen in different ages, cultures, races, and socio-economic status. There are many reasons why a teen may engage in self-harm behavior, such as emotional turmoil, breakups, bullying, and high self-criticism. There may be physcial signs (e.g. unexplained cuts, bruises, covering up) and/or emotional clues (e.g. difficulty with intense emotions, low self-esteem). Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the motivation behind the behavior, such as if self-harm is being used as a coping strategy to help escape intense emotions. This is why it is important to talk with your teen about the thoughts and emotions behind the self harm, and follow up with a medical and/or therapeutic provider if they are at immediate risk of hurting themselves in a life-threatening way. Reach out to your student's assigned Administrator, Social Worker, Counselor, and/or Mental Health Specialist for additional information and resources.

    https://www.crisistextline.org/

    http://teenmentalhealth.org/understanding-self-injury-self-harm/

    https://www.verywellmind.com/teen-cutting-and-self-harm-behaviors-2633862

    http://sioutreach.org/learn-self-injury/parents-and-families/

    http://www.selfinjury.bctr.cornell.edu/perch/resources/parenting-2.pdf

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  • National African-American/Black History Month

    Posted by Erich Priest on 2/19/2020

    February is National African-American (Black) History Month. As students learn about important historical and modern figures, such as Solomon Carter Fuller - the first African-American psychiatrist, there is also an opportunity to talk about current inequalities. A recent study from ACT found that less than half of high school students of color felt comfortable reaching out to a teacher or counselor for mental health support (diverseeducation.com). One of the barriers contributing to this discomfort is the lack of representation for students, and the stigma that comes with engaging in mental health services. While teachers and staff participate in cultural competency training it is also important for schools to promote and raise awareness of mental health services available on campus and in the community. Help start the conversation with your teen about exploring mental health resources at school and in the community, including who they can reach out to for support. Help your teen identify barriers or challenges to seeking out support, and share these with their assigned Administrator, Social Worker, Counselor, and/or Mental Health Specialist.

    https://diverseeducation.com/article/164651/

    https://www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/disparities-mental-health

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  • February Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month

    Posted by Erich Priest on 2/5/2020

    "Nationwide, youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault" (Youth.gov.). "1 in 3 adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner" (loveisrespect.org). These alarming statistics are some of the reasons why February has become National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teens in abusive relationships are more likely to repeat these negative patterns in future relationships, and are at higher risk for for long-term behavioral and emotional difficulties (e.g. suicide attempts, eating disorders). Take some time to talk with your teen about possible signs of dating abuse and what healthy relationships can look like (e.g. respect, support, privacy). Sometimes discussing relationships that are portrayed in the media can be a great way to start a conversation about values, healthy boundaries, and consent. Talk with your teen about their experiences in their relationships, and reach out to your student's assigned Administrator, Social Worker, Counselor, and/or Mental Health Specialist for additional information/resources.

    Orange County Rape Crisis Center

    https://www.loveisrespect.org/teendvmonth/

    https://youth.gov/feature-article/teen-dating-violence-awareness-and-prevention-month

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  • CHHS Teen Vaping Awareness & Prevention Panel

    Posted by Erich Priest on 1/22/2020

    CHHS Teen Vaping Awareness Panel Discussion, Wednesday, February 5 at 6pm Students and families are invited to a Vaping Panel Discussion on February 5th at 6:00pm at Chapel Hill High School in the Media Center. Discussion topics will include types of vaping products, why they are harmful, the prevalence in our schools, vaping policies and laws, how to protect yourself from this dangerous trend, and resources for additional information. Our panelists will be:

    · Dr. Ilona Jaspers, UNC Director of Curriculum in Toxicology & Environmental Medicine & Professor in Pediatrics at UNC

    · Charles Blanchard, CHHS Principal

    · Officer Gary Beneville, Chapel Hill Police Department, CHHS School Resource Officer

    · CHHS Students for a first-hand account

    CHHS Teen Vaping Panel

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  • Fighting The Winter Blues

    Posted by Erich Priest on 1/8/2020

    Welcome back Tigers and Tiger Families! CHHS hopes that you and yours had an excellent and relaxing Winter Break. As we return to focus on school as the days start to get longer once again it is still important to engage in self care to positively manage mental health. The winter months can certainly take a toll on our physical and emotional health, so staying proactive is a great defense against the "Winter Blues." Mental Health First Aid recommends getting exercise, exposure to full-spectrum light, and relaxation training, such as "tensing and relaxing muscle groups" to help support a balanced mood and physical health. January is also known as "Get Organized Month" and many people find that taking some time to get organized can help reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Students can be encouraged to take some time to simply get organized, and/or meet with their assigned school counselor to discuss helpful strategies for staying organized and on top of their work. Talk with your teen about how they can work to improve their mental health through self care and organization, and reach out to your student's assigned Administrator, Social Worker, Counselor, and/or Mental Health Specialist for additional information/resources.

    https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/2019/12/three-ways-to-manage-depression-during-winter/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTjJFeU5qRXlORE0yT0RjNCIsInQiOiJVXC9QdWV4emtOZGxuSFhrZzE0ZllNdisrQ2hZSTVWRm5nYXdcL01DWnpBZkNIdnJLeFI2dnpnOE5VaDJUUXFydFwvUFlKbTV6XC9idlFsZTVkTXJydEczMEFSWXIwRklBcE84dXN2S2pXdktLZXh6TnJPT2FKUHdm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihO02wUzgkc https://www.healthline.com/health/organized-even-on-toughest-mental-health-days#1

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