By Carie Canterbury
The Daily Record
Support is available for students and families impacted by the police investigation into the exchange of nude photographs between students in the Cañon City School District.
Solvista Health offers 24/7 access to mental health professionals for local community members. Teens, parents or family members impacted by the situation may reach out to Solvista Health at 275-2351.
"When parents are under stress, the best thing to do is to not overreact," said Dean Horton, LMFT, Solvista Health Child and Family Program Director. "We need to listen, discuss and communicate with our teenager when they are in some type of trouble."
Horton said parents typically want their adolescents to go to them instead of someone else.
"However, if we lecture or immediately provide consequences without thinking it through, we will push them away or shut them down," he said. "Keep the big picture in mind. Most teenagers and adults have made mistakes and been able to move past them in a successful way."
District Superintendent George Welsh during a community meeting Thursday said because some students may be afraid to go to school for various reasons, he has assigned Kirsten Javernick, director of Special Services, to coordinate staff and identify students who clearly are reacting to the incident and investigation so they can have access to available services.
"My hope is as community members, parents and students, as we're identifying these kids, we don't let them fall through the cracks," Welsh said. "Please let us know so we can contact them directly."
Susan Payne, director of Safe 2 Tell for the Colorado General Attorney's office, on Thursday said it's important parents and children have a discussion about a safe way to speak up if they see someone struggling or going through emotional trauma during this process so they can get the help they need.
"The overall message we're trying to send is to make sure there is community resiliency and that everyone is focused on a pro-active response here in making sure that if anyone out there is feeling embarrassment or shame, that there is a way for them to communicate that is safe and no less courageous," she said.
Erica Elliott, LPC, Solvista Health Child & Family Supervisor, said it's important that parents be aware of changes in their adolescent, such as losing interest in activities, isolating from friends or family, expressing statements of hopelessness, or becoming increasingly secretive.
"These can be signs that your adolescent may need some extra help or support," she said.
Solvista Health recommends two resources that might be helpful to parents, www.thesmarttalk.org, which helps parents set ground rules and guidelines, as a family, for smart phone use, and www.commonsensemedia.org, another site that contains reviews, blogs, information and guidelines for all types of media.
Carie Canterbury: 719-276-7643, email@example.com
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