Be an Upstander! National Bullying Prevention Month

Do you know what an Upstander is?  During a bullying situation, there are different roles youth play.  There is the child who is engaging in the bullying behavior and the child who is being bullied.  But there is often a bystander as well, a child who witnesses the bullying.  When a child sees someone being bullying, it can be upsetting, even if they are witnessing it online.  It is important to equip children with the tools they need to shift from being a Bystander to an Upstander.  An Upstander also witnesses the bullying but then intervenes or speaks up in order to stop that behavior.  We really like this article from stopbullying.gov because it gives youth practical tips for becoming an Upstander in those situations.  At home and school, it is important to talk with children about what they can do when they witness bullying. 

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FDA Warning on Vaping

Have you heard of vaping? It is very popular among young people and teenagers. When you vape, you are smoking an “e-cigarette” or some other device. It produces a “vapor” that you inhale and exhale. Many young people like to vape because they think it is healthier and cheaper than smoking a regular cigarette. In addition, the vapes come in different flavors, many of which are marketed toward young people (e.g., bubble gum flavor). The vaping devices look similar to flash drives, making them easy to hide from parents.

During the past few weeks, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has warned against the use of vapes and e-cigarettes because they may be linked to lung and respiratory illnesses. Some people are being hospitalized after vaping. Due to the rise of sickness after the use of vaping products, the FDA and CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) are investigating illnesses linked to vaping. For more information, please see the link below:

https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/lung-illnesses-associated-use-vaping-products

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ESPN and Special Olympics Sign Deal

ESPN and Special Olympics have reached an 8 year deal. ESPN made a recent announcement stating that they will broadcast the Special Olympics World Games and USA Games through 2027. ESPN began covering Special Olympics events back in 2015 and have been a sponsor for more than 30 years. They aim to feature year round coverage of Special Olympic events, athletes, culture, and community.

To learn more about this deal, click here: https://www.espnfrontrow.com/2019/09/espn-and-special-olympics-announce-eight-year-extension-of-global-programming/

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Man with Autism and Visual Impairment wins America’s Got Talent

Do you watch America’s Got Talent? On Wednesday, the show crowned its latest winner – Kodi Lee. Kodi has Autism and is blind. After his victory, Kodi said that he feels amazing and is in disbelief that he won. To learn more about his journey on America’s Got Talent, check out this story from The Today Show:

https://www.today.com/popculture/singer-who-blind-has-autism-wins-america-s-got-talent-t162904

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Information for Parents of Children Receiving Special Education

There is a new way to receive information and send questions or communication to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children’s Division through an online listserv. Interested parents can sign up by visiting the website for NC Public Schools by clicking here http://www.ncpublicschools.org/ and registering an email in order to access information on the workings of the NC DPI EC division. The following link explains how to select and sign up for this listserv:

https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/NCSBE/2019/09/10/file_attachments/1282670/Directions%20for%20EC%20Info%20for%20Parents%20listserv.pdf

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1 Person in the World Dies by Suicide Every 40 Seconds

That’s a lot to process, isn’t it?

This article from CNN discusses new data on suicide from the World Health Organization (WHO).  It’s sort of a “good-news, bad-news” read.  For example, between 2010 and 2016, the global suicide rate decreased by 9.8%.  However, the WHO also found that the only region to see an increase was the Americas.

The article also notes that close to 800,000 people die by suicide every year, more than those lost to malaria, breast cancer, or war and homicide, and the WHO is now referring to suicide as a “serious global public health issue.”

We also wanted to pass along this unique way of sharing the Suicide Prevention Hotline number:

This message was created by John & Julie Govin in Wisconsin, who reported that they always do a “theme” for their annual corn maze.  This year, they were inspired to share this message after losing a loved one to suicide.  Mr. Govin noted that he and his wife are “really doing this in the hope that we can prevent another family from going through what we’ve gone through.”

Your Student Services team here in W-S/FCS has a protocol in place to intervene with – and get help for – students who are experiencing thoughts of suicide.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us; we’re here to help!

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National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8-14

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is encouraging people to create a safety net for those that are struggling, themselves included, by educating and inspiring them to feel as comfortable talking about mental health as they would their physical health. By knowing how to have a real conversation (#RealConvo) with people in our lives, recognize the risks and warning signs for suicide, and understand ways to connect to help, we can all play a role in making our communities safer.

AFSP created a toolkit filled with inspiration, guidance, social media sharables and more, enabling you to:

WATCH short, informative videos
SHARE images and other goodies on social media
READ blogs featuring personal perspectives and expert guidance on how to have a #RealConvo
TAKE ACTION and get involved in the cause

The toolkit contains a calendar of events for September, including Twitter chats, as well as personal stories, #RealConvo guides, and further resources for those who are struggling. New social sharables, merchandise updates and more will continue to be added throughout the month.

Thank you for helping AFSP spread the word, get people talking more openly about mental health and suicide prevention, and make our communities and loved ones safer in the process.

Access the toolkit here

The website seizetheawkward.org provides additional information and talking points along with videos from well-known folks discussing their own mental health.

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Supporting Students After Tragedies

It seems like every time we turn on the news there is another act of mass violence.  With the access our children have to technology, they frequently see horrifying, sometimes first-hand images and videos of these tragedies which have been posted to social media. These stories and images often leave children scared and confused.  Making matters even worse, many of these events happen in schools, adding to the sense of apprehension they feel in that setting.  As parents and caregivers, what can we do to help reinforce feelings of safety and security in our children?

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has several recommendations for how to talk to children of all ages about these events.  In a recent article by National Public Radio, former NASP President Melissa Reeves outlines five important factors for increasing your child’s sense of safety and security within the school environment.  Learn more here NPR article

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