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School families can attend the “Family Mental Health Resource Fair” on Sept. 19. Madison City Schools and Madison City Council of PTAs are presenting the fair at Midtown Elementary School. CONTRIBUTED

MCS, PTA council to host Family Mental Health Resource Fair

MADISON – Madison City Schools and Madison City Council of PTAs are hosting “Family Mental Health Resource Fair” on Sept. 19.

Midtown Elementary School, 140 Coefer Blvd. will host this districtwide event from 5 to 7 p.m. Student families can browse the community resource tables, student art showcase, mental wellness expo and other materials.

The free event is open to all school families. Madison City Council of PTAs will schedule food trucks and door prizes.

To find pressing issues for families, organizers complied surveys that were available in early September. Those surveys will help MCS staff to plan future events.

A family should support mental health for all children. Family members should realize scenarios with children that occur before, during and after challenges arise, according to MCS staff.

The Family Mental Health Resource Fair will feature an interactive expo with hands-on activities for youth and adults, sponsored by The Enrichment Center. School families can take home materials from agency professionals, including Mental Health Center, Autism Network, Military Child Coalition, The Caring House, National Children’s Advocacy Center and other groups.

This session’s resounding theme will be “Connecting the Dots.” MCS staff emphasizes several points: “You are not alone.” “Join the conversation.” “Remove stigma.” “Start prevention.” “Seek help.”

National PTA has developed “PTA Healthy Minds Program” to empower families to set mental health as an everyday priority. An individual can choose between tools for both PTA leaders and families. Click either “For Families” or “For PTA Leaders” at pta.org/home/programs/Healthy-Lifestyles.

In addition, PTA has documented numerous websites. One site, “The Teen Brain: 7 Things to Know” focuses on teenage development:

* 1. “The brain reaches its largest size in early adolescence.” – For girls, the age is 11 years old. For boys, it’s 14 years old. “But this difference does not mean either boys or girls are smarter than one another!” the PTA site stated.

* 2. “The brain continues to mature even after it is done growing.” – The human brain completes its development and maturation during the mid- to late-20s.

* 3. “The teen brain is ready to learn and adapt.” — Teenagers can handle challenging academics, exercise and creative endeavors like art and thus help the brain to learn.

* 4. “Many mental disorders may begin to appear during adolescence.” – Teenagers can develop schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder or eating disorders.

* 5. “Teen brains may be more vulnerable to stress.” – Teens’ response to stress can lead to anxiety and depression.

* 6. “Teens need more sleep than children and adults.” – In teens, research shows melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone,’ is higher late at night and drops in late morning in teens. Teens should sleep about 10 hours nightly, but most don’t.

* 7. “The teen brain is resilient.” — Most teens go on to become healthy adults.

For more information, visit madisoncity.k12.al.us or pta.org.


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