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March is Violence Prevention Month
Cameron Rifkin, MSW Student
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Teen Health Connection wants to take this opportunity to educate the community on the diverse forms violence can take. While homicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents (ages 12-19), there are other components to consider. Violence can include bullying, intimidation, verbal abuse, and coercive behavior. Violence can and does exist in all neighborhoods and all cultures. According to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, 22% of students reported being bullied at least once during the school year - including nearly 15% of high school students reporting some form of "cyberbullying."
Preventing these violent acts should be a priority for not only school administrators, but the community as a whole - students, religious leaders, law enforcement, and parents. We can do our part by:
  • Speaking up when we see bullying
  • Contacting the appropriate individuals-administrators, police, etc.
  • Intervening when possible to mitigate the ongoing situation
  • Communicating openly and honestly with teens about healthy relationships and
  • Utilizing mental health agencies when needed

Youth violence is a public health problem. The team at Teen Health Connection encourages you to join us as we promote healthier choices for teens and work to prevent violence before it starts.  

The Big Picture

The Big Picture is a dynamic health education and community outreach initiative that is solely written and performed by and for adolescent youth.  Based on data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Youth Risk Behavior Survey, this youth initiative addresses the current trends and health related issues facing teenagers today, with a focus on positive behavioral and health choices.
Wednesday, April 20 Professional Conference for Substance Abuse Prevention for medical clinicians, psychologists, social workers and all professionals who work with adolescents.
Thursday, April 21 Free Community Performance for parents, teachers, professionals and all community members. TICKETS AVAILABLE NOW for the free community performance on Thursday, April 21 at 7:00pm. Reserve your seat today.

Enroll in our text messaging campaign to receive bi-monthly health and safety messages. Text teenhealth1 to 877877 if you are younger than 22 years old and text teenhealth2 to 877877 if you are 22 years old or older.  
Youth to Youth Conference

This summer Teen Health Connection is proud to be a partner of Youth to Youth International 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.
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. Austin Cox. Dr. Cox received her medical degree from ECU.
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.

Violence Prevention Conference
Today's youth have access to an almost unlimited amount and variety of violent content in the TV shows and movies they watch, the music they listen to, and the video games they play. Join us at the 11th annual violence prevention conference - Media Matters: The Impact of Violent Media on Today's Youth. You can learn more and register here.  
Teen Health Connection Hero 

Clark Bridge, LCSW
Teen Health Connection Mental Health Clinician

On the evening of February 16th, I was writing notes and eating a little left over Valentine's Day candy when I looked at the clock and realized it was 6:20 and my 6:00 had not arrived yet.  Initially bummed that my appointment wasn't here, I soon shifted gears and became a little excited that I would be able to leave on time tonight.   At 6:23 my phone rang, on the other end was a sweet cheery voice saying, "your 6:00 is here", I remembered that this very needy patient was bringing his very needy mother with him for the first time. This was going to be difficult to get in and out in 40 minutes.
As I arrived at the front desk, with a less than pleasant attitude I'm sure, I was greeted with another sweet salutation, this time it said "just to give you a heads up, it is your patient's birthday today ".  "Darn" was the first thought that came into my head, if you work with adolescents, you know how important birthdays are to them, I was devastated that I didn't realize it was his birthday.
As I was desperately trying to think of what I could put together in the next 30 seconds, I began to pat down my pockets to see if I perhaps had some balloons, birthday cake, or perhaps a birthday card in there.  My thoughts were quickly interrupted by that same sweet voice from the front desk.  "If you'd like, I can put together a bag for him and bring it to your office".  Always liking to be the "helper" never liking to be "helped", I reluctantly said "yes", that would be great".
I began the session by wishing the patient Happy Birthday and then inquiring as to why he was here on his birthday.  "Well, my mom asked me if I wanted to cancel and go do something else with her, and I said no, I like coming here, it's peaceful and positive".  Humbled, that a 17-year-old would choose my office as a spot they would want to celebrate their birthday, I proceeded.
About 5 minutes into the session there was a gentle knock on my door.  At the door there was Holly, the owner of that sweet voice and the receptionist at Teen Health Connection with a Teen Health Connection bag full of "goodies".  Not really knowing what a 17-year-old Latino boy likes for his birthday, I sheepishly handed the bag to the patient with another "happy birthday".  What happened next I could not anticipate, you would've thought that I handed him a $500 gift card to GameStop.  As the patient slowly emptied out the bag he became more and more excited.  He pulled out a glorified rubber band that was blue  and said Teen Health Connection on it and said "oh wow a bracelet, I'm going to wear that to school" and proceeded to put it on his wrist.  He then pulled out and immediately put on, some funky Teen Health Connection glasses making some goofy poses and leaving the "cool guy" image behind.  After he had emptied the bag out of its 4 or 5 gifts he was on cloud nine, and so was I.  I was completely humbled at the effect the thoughtful kindness of one person would make on another.  We then went on to process some very heavy stuff that night and I know that the birthday celebration made a solid launching pad for this.
I'm so grateful to be part of the team that it is so thoughtful and willing to serve others, most of all, our patients.  Way to go Holly!!!  You have set the bar high!!!
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.