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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Rett Liles, JD
Health Promotions and Community Outreach Manager
Adolescence is a critical period for mental, social, and emotional development. During this time, the brain undergoes significant changes. Adolescents are particularly receptive to both the positive influences of youth development strategies but also susceptible to suffering from mental health challenges. 70% of mental health disorders onset prior to the age of 25 and 20% of adolescents are impacted by mental health concerns at any given time. Mental health concerns that are left unaddressed in adolescence can impede all aspects of a person's health, including emotional and social development which can leave adolescents feeling isolated and stigmatized. This makes the adolescent years a critical time to promote positive mental health and to address any unmet needs.   

At Teen Health Connection, our integrated medical and mental health team understands the importance of providing quality physical and mental healthcare to our patients. We believe that parents play an important role in promoting social-emotional health among adolescents. Below are some tips for parents that can help support adolescents: 
  • Listen to adolescents - let them talk about any problems that they are having and help them to identify positive and healthy solutions. 
  • Encourage adolescents to get involved in activities that engage them in the community in a positive way.
  • Set clear expectations with adolescents and let them know that their actions can have consequences and that they matter to the adults in their lives.
  • Help adolescents to identify supportive adults who they can talk to if they are needing support or advice. 
  • Take advantage of our Parenting the Love and Logic Way parenting classes. These classes help parents feel more confident, have more fun parenting and feel more relaxed.
To meet the needs of teens and their families, Teen Health Connection provides outpatient individual and family therapy.  All of our clinicians are licensed mental health professionals who specialize in adolescent development. Our team believes that although the teen is the identified patient, a family-based approach (including parents/guardians throughout the treatment process) is important. We implement evidence-based approaches, but also use creative techniques to build rapport and retain engagement with the teen. You can visit our website to learn more.

World Health Organization. Child and Adolescent Mental Health Policies and Plans (Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package) Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2005.

The Teen Health Connection Youth Drug Free Coalition encourages parents and teens to make a pledge to prevent underage drinking and prescription drug misuse. Alcohol is the most frequently used and abused substance among youth, and as many as 1 in 5 teens reported that they have taken a prescription drug without having a prescription for it. Teen Health Connection encourages parents and teens to take the pledge so that we can prevent teen substance use and fulfill our vision of every adolescent to be healthy, safe and successful. 

This summer Teen Health Connection is proud to be a partner of Youth 2 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. Courtney Brantley. Dr. Brantley received her medical degree from UNC.
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.

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. The 2016 production was a huge success and the vignettes from the performance will be available on the Teen Health Connection website in the coming weeks. 
Philanthropic Development
Ashley Kromah and Sidney Johnson present a check to Executive Director, Libby Safrit, at Teen Health Connection
Two Young Philanthropists
By Terry Albanese, Senior Development Officer
I recently had the pleasure of meeting two thoughtful and generous young women who held a fundraiser in support of Teen Health Connection. Ashley Kromah and Sidney Johnson are 8th graders at Piedmont IB Open Middle School and needed to complete a community service project for school. They chose to raise money for Teen Health Connection because they support our mission. The girls stated, "We wanted to help teens in some way because we feel that teenagers are misunderstood and misjudged a lot. So we chose your organization because you help teens with physical and mental health, as well as offering a safe place to go for help or comfort." Ashley and Sidney held a bake sale and reflected on their philanthropic endeavor in a journal they completed for school. With all of their planning underway, according to the girls, the hardest part was finding a place to host the bake sale. Instead, they decided to go door to door in their neighborhoods. I commend Ashley and Sidney for their hard work and dedication to planning a successful fundraising effort to support their peers - the teens - in our community. The girls said it feels great to be contributing to our organization and the community. They are proud of their accomplishment and so is the team at Teen Health Connection. Thank you, Ashley and Sidney, for your donation of $100.20. You hit your goal and you are right, "Not everyone can say that they have ever done that."
Dr. John G. Johnston Award
for Excellence in Adolescent Medicine and Health 

Ann Clark, Superintendent for
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
2015 recipient of the Dr. John G. Johnston Award for Excellence in Adolescent Medicine and Health

The Dr. John G. Johnston Award for Excellence in Adolescent Medicine and Health is named for Teen Health Connection's founding Medical Director and Charlotte pediatrician, Dr. John G. Johnston. The Johnston Award honors individuals and organizations that have demonstrated sustained and significant impact on adolescents in the Charlotte community. The 2016 recipient will be honored at the Stand Up and Get Down for Teens annual event on September 24, 2016. You can download the application here. The deadline for nominations is May 15. Please submit all forms to Terry Albanese, Senior Development Officer, at
If you have any questions, please contact Terry at 704-381-8369.
Stand Up and Get Down for Teens

Stand Up and Get Down for Teens is Teen Health Connection's annual fundraiser.
The 2016 event is Saturday, September 24, 2016 at The Fillmore. Visit our website for more information about the event.