By Hank McCoy
Mayor Scott Brook, along with local professionals in the mental health field, held a virtual round table on Facebook to discuss how residents can best handle mental illness while social distancing.
Becky Cheresnick, a psychologist, and clinician with the Clinical Response Team (CRT) of the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department is most concerned with high school students.
Cheresnick explained how the social life for teenagers is often more important than family at their age and, as a result, particularly seniors, are mourning the loss of all the senior activities they would be enjoying.
The current generation of high schoolers is the least mentally healthy generation since the statistics on mental health first started, according to Cheresnick.
Between 2007 and 2017, suicides in this age group have gone up 76 percent.
Social media and its effects on mental health were discussed during the virtual round table. Licensed clinical social worker Andrea Santiago expressed that under normal circumstances, she would discourage social media use; however, right now, it’s a tool for connectivity.
“It’s important to find a balance between allowing kids to be on Minecraft and other online games that bring some form of connectivity during social distancing and having a pulse on what websites your kids are on and what social media platforms as well,” said Santiago.
A resident asked what they could do for their sister, who tried committing suicide a year ago and has stopped taking her medications.
“Unfortunately, if she’s an adult, there isn’t much you can do for her. We do have a mobile crisis unit that if you’re feeling uncomfortable at all with what your sister is doing, they will come to the house and evaluate the sister,” said Cheresnick.
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- Hank McCoy is a writer and journalist covering music, politics, and culture on his blog Hank’s Luncheonette, as well as currently working on publishing his first novel. Hank grew up in Parkland and graduated from FAU before moving to Chicago where he worked in the music industry as an artist and talent booker when he wasn’t throwing people out of punk bars. Hank recently moved back to South Florida after living overseas in Berlin while he traveled to Europe.
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