The Central High School District partnered with the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide to host a Nassau County Youth Wellness Summit at the Brookside building on March 19.
The Youth Wellness Summit was a day-long event included students from the BMCHSD, as well as other Nassau County public and private high schools.
“The collaboration of over 25 Nassau County schools, the partnership with SPTS and the lineup of speakers, presenters, panelists and workshops was truly awe-inspiring,” said Michael Harrington, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction and Long Island Wellness Summit Committee member.
The summit was designed to provide students, staff and administrators with the resources needed to support overall wellness, including the prevention of teen suicide and other upstream prevention measures. It began with a powerful and interactive panel discussion presenting young people with inspiring stories of resiliency and hope, including a Mepham alumna, Stacy Brief who was integral in bringing the summit to Long Island.
“With mental health issues in America on the rise, the district is seeking positive and proactive ways to engage students in being part of the solution to what is becoming an epidemic amongst adolescents,” said Eric Arlin, director of special education and pupil personnel services.
Throughout the day, effective prevention and wellness techniques were presented on a variety of topics including coping skills, yoga, preparing for life after high school, removing toxic friendships, building self-confidence and effective communication skills.
“One student said that she particularly loved an activity we did in the workshop Knowing Your Worth, where students walked around with paper on their back and were asked to walk around the room an speak to students they didn’t know, and write a positive word to describe them on their backs,” explained Theana Cheliotes, LMSW at Mepham High School and Long Island Wellness Summit Committee member. “I call this first impressions. Many of the words that were written on this young lady’s paper were things she didn’t quite believe she possessed but perfect strangers were able to see these things in her. She continued to look at the paper with tears of joy in her eyes.”
SPTS has offered the Youth Wellness Summit in New Jersey since 2014, however, this is the first of its kind on Long Island.
“Our hope is that students and staff take the lessons and skills they learned today and become ambassadors in their own districts,” added Harrington.