Researcher Addresses Mental Health Group in Lisbon

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As part of Mental Health Awareness Month, Case Western Reserve research associate Dr. Richard Shelper talked with community leaders and organizations at the Counseling Center in Lisbon about how they can promote resiliency in youth and foster good behavior.

Shelper said close to one in four youth might suffer from a mental health or behavioral challenge and parents and the community can work together to promote a successful environment.

“How do we support them, both emotionally but also finding out, asking them what sparked them, what they do well,” said Shelper.

Patty Wilms is a parent and knows first hand what it means to have a child with challenges. Her son has ADHD.

“I became involved as a parent here with services to try and figure out the best course for him,” said Wilms. “Parents just need to hold out hope for their children and keep a good support system around the child and yourself.”

The lessons behind the resiliency initiative can have meaning beyond the scope of mental health. Shepler said there are many factors that can help a child succeed, like getting involved in activities, but someone has to believe in the child.

“How do we create little successes, little successes, little victories for them in their lives on a daily basis,” said Shepler.

With the recent tragedies in Boston and Newtown along with the debate on gun control, mental health is something that has been in the spotlight lately.

U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, said Washington is taking steps to help those suffering with mental illness. An oversight investigative sub-committees within the committee on Energy and Commerce is working to provide better ways to identify and treat mental illness and ensure mental health programs are readily available to those who need them.

“How do we identify, diagnose and treat those with mental illnesses and conditions that might make them perpetuate these crimes, but restricting law abiding citizens’ gun rights, that’s not going to do it.” said Johnson.

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