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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
Ashley Mitchelides, MPH
Clinical Health Educator   
ILYSM. #MCM. My bae. Netflix and chill. 

In a rapidly evolving world of social media, the status of a teen relationship is blasted through the screen of a smart phone or tablet. They know what this means, but do we? Cryptic conversation can be overwhelming for some, but for the thousands of teens engaging in Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, and Facebook (although deemed "uncool" in the teen world), this is the norm. Taglines on Instagram can tell us a lot about who a teen dates, as detailed as the "official date", initials of their "bae", and a daily count of relationship status. But what do teen relationships truly look like? 
At Teen Health Connection, we are no strangers to teen dating. We work daily to promote healthy relationships by equipping young female and male adolescents with health education, refined decision making skills, and positive self-esteem. Despite our tireless efforts, each year 1 in 3 teen girls will experience physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from their partner. So where do we begin? February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. 
Of the thousands of teens engaged in relationships, did you know that each year, 1.5 million high school aged students experience physical abuse from their partner? Teen dating violence can include physical violence (hitting, slapping, or pushing), sexual abuse (unwanted sexual activity in any capacity), psychological manipulation, and emotional violence. Dating violence is not contained to just a physical space, but often occurs via social media or through text. Individuals in an unhealthy relationship are more likely to experience teen dating violence. Risk factors for these teens include: 
* A belief that unhealthy behaviors or types of violence are acceptable 
* Signs of depression, anxiety, or previous exposure to trauma in a relationship 
* Expression of aggressive behaviors or inability to control emotions 
* Engagement of early sexual activity 
* Use illegal substances 
* Witness or victim of violence at home or in personal life 

As adolescents develop, it is imperative that they have positive emotional experiences to aid in the formation of their identity. The negative short and long-term consequences to teen dating violence include an increased risk for depression and anxiety, an increased likelihood to engage in unhealthy behaviors (i.e., substance use, risky sexual behaviors), and psychosocial changes (changes in grades, loss of interest in typical activities). 

This February, our team encourages you to "check-in" with teens. Delineate that ILYSM is "I love you so much". #MCM is "Man Crush Monday" and that a "bae" is boyfriend or girlfriend. Have a conversation with your teen about healthy relationships and if you need additional resources - our team is here to help. 

National Institutes of Health (NIH, 2015) 
Break The Cycle, 2015 

The Teen Health Connection team believes in our home team. Best of luck to the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50!
Welcome Pediatric Resident
The Department of Pediatrics at Carolinas Medical Center and Levine Children's Hospital offers a fully accredited 3 year pediatric medical resident training program.  Teen Health Connection is fortunate to serve as the adolescent-specific medical rotation for the residents.  This month, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Katherine Doane. Dr. Doane received her medical degree from USC.
Please forward our e-newsletter to your friends, sign up for our text messaging campaign, like us on  Facebook and visit our website to read about what we are doing each month. You can also follow us on Instagram at Teen Health Connection or on Twitter. Teen Health Connection appreciates our community partners and families.  We believe that together we can make a difference for adolescents in our community.  

It is through the support of our individual, community and corporate partners that Teen Health Connection empowers every adolescent to be healthy, safe and successful.

Wear #ORANGE4love
The Teen Dating Violence Awareness Committee is encouraging everyone to wear orange on Tuesday, February 9th in honor of Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. #TDVAclt for more info.
Southern States Conference   

Nationally, Youth to Youth is the recognized leader for engaging youth in positive change. Each summer, Youth to Youth offers tremendous leadership opportunities for high school students and the adults who work with them. The one-of-a-kind conference experience, led by trained teens alongside adults, is the training that groups across the country count on annually to serve as a vital catalyst to initiate or improve their youth prevention programming. This summer Teen Health Connection is proud to be a partner to offer the Southern States Conference at Queens University in Charlotte. Space is limited this year so visit here for more information or to enroll your teens in the conference.
Healthy Relationship Program 

  • The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate among the world's developed nations.
  • 45.9% of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools high school students reported they have had sexual intercourse in their life.  
The Healthy Relationship Program at Teen Health Connection is a 1-on-1 health education program that provides counseling sessions for adolescents. The program encompasses aspects of adolescent sexual health, healthy dating, pregnancy prevention and prevention of teen dating violence. You can make an appointment with our clinical health educator or learn more here.
Reserve Your Seat Today
The Big Picture is a dynamic health education and community outreach initiative that addresses the current trends and health related issues facing teens today with a focus on positive behavioral and health choices.
TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW for the free community performance on Thursday, April 21 at 7:00pm. Reserve your seat today.

Teen Health Connection would like to thank the many volunteers, funders and community partners who dedicate their time and talent to this organization.  Because of the commitment from so many valued partners and friends, the team at Teen Health Connection can continue to empower every adolescent to be healthy, safe and successful.