Webinars Discuss Mental Health, Executive Functioning, and Measuring Psychosocial Progress
WAKEFIELD — Executive Director Margie Daniels is pleased to announce that Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth (MPY) has reached 32,000 registrations since it began holding professional development training webinars in response to the COVID-19 pandemic this March.
MPY began hosting remote workshops on March 24 after halting its planned in-person conferences due to COVID-19. With school facilities throughout Massachusetts closed due to the virus, MPY swiftly adapted and moved its programming online, for free, to offer educators resources to reach out and support students and families for the remainder of the school year.
“We’re completely thrilled that we have had 32,000 registrations to our webinars since March,” Executive Director Daniels said. “At a time when educators so direly need support and training to navigate the unprecedented challenges posed by COVID-19 and remote learning and services, we’re so happy to have been able to fill that gap and make a difference.”
This week, MPY held five webinars. On Monday, June 1, a webinar titled “Can’t vs. Won’t: Executive Functioning and Its Effect on Behavior” featured school psychologist David Gotthelf, who discussed executive functioning and how related challenges can be addressed both educationally and from a behavioral perspective.
“Executive functioning has become one of the most prevalent and challenging issues facing educators today,” Gotthelf said. “My experience as a school and clinical psychologist, including neuropsychological testing, has increased both my interest and expertise in this subject. What has been so fulfilling is the opportunity to share my understanding of this subject through MPY, something I have been able to do in person and now via online learning. To be able to reach hundreds of educators is fantastic, and I thank MPY for providing the opportunity for me to do this. I hope that others will take advantage of not only my webinar but other webinars under the aegis of MPY.”
Kelsey Manders, a social worker, led a webinar titled “How to Support Students at Risk for Suicide During COVID-19” on Tuesday, June 2. During her presentation, Manders discussed the complexities of identifying students at risk and connecting with them in new ways amid the social distancing and remote learning necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, June 3, a webinar titled “Kids and Toxic Stress: The Whys and The Hows” was led by mental health counselor Windi Bowditch. During the webinar, Bowditch reviewed how stress can impact students and become toxic, leading to increased mental health concerns. The training also identified critical contributing factors to the recent increases in stress and anxiety, how those factors can impact the brain and affect social/emotional functioning, and how to identify factors in helping students build resilience to minimize mental health crises and successfully navigate these difficult times.
A webinar titled “Positive Anxiety” was led by LABB Collaborative Executive Director Patric Barbieri on Thursday, June 4. During the training, Barbieri discussed the stigma with having anxiety and how people can learn to better understand anxiety, accept the feelings associated with it and realize how anxiety can be positive, inspirational and motivational and drive people to be more productive and successful.
“I have been fortunate to be a member and also have the opportunity to present my webinar called, ‘Positive Anxiety’ for MPY,” Barbieri said. “Now, more than ever, we need to reach and connect to large audiences to address these issues and change not only the misperception of anxiety but give our community members the tools to cope with these symptoms in our world today. When we return to ‘normal’ the traumatic events we are experiencing today will have a tremendous impact on our society in the future. We cannot wait to talk, reflect, and confront the realities of our mental state or well being. MPY is playing a key role and taking an active approach as an organization to contribute to the well being of our communities. I am proud to be part of MPY and the mission they are on and we need to support this for our future health.”
Today, Friday, June 5, MPY also hosted a webinar titled ‘Measuring Psychosocial Progress: Developing Evidence-based Treatment Plans and IEP Service Delivery,’ which featured Methuen Public Schools Director of School Mental Health and Behavioral Services John Crocker. During the training, Crocker gave an overview of the implementation of psychosocial progress monitoring practices in Methuen. He also provided participants with resources to support the selection of psychosocial progress monitoring tools and the design of treatment plans, and discussed special education service delivery for social emotional goals including common practices statewide and suggestions for the development of IEP service delivery that aligns with evidence-based therapeutic practice. The training also addressed how this data informs the evaluation and sustainability of a comprehensive school mental health system.
About the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc.
Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth, Inc. is a non-profit 501.c(3) organization that provides training, fosters collaboration, and develops programming to increase the health and safety of students. Member organizations include more than 140 public school districts, charter schools, private schools, special education schools, educational collaboratives, and youth community service organizations in the Commonwealth. MPY is committed to bringing cutting-edge information and high quality trainings to constituents and endeavors to provide solution-oriented, community-based, multi-disciplinary approaches to reducing and ideally eliminating risky behaviors for youth.
The nonprofit is governed by a Board of Directors made up of school superintendents, police and fire chiefs, and other community leaders who work closely with MPY staff to deliver this mission.
To learn more, visit www.mpyinc.org.