Parent Forum on Youth Mental Health Set for Feb. 24
Resource fair to follow panel discussion on local stressors, signs your child is struggling, and how to help
NAPERVILLE, Ill. — In response to growing concern about youth mental health and teen suicide, the Naperville Police Department and KidsMatter are teaming up to provide a community forum and resource fair on the topic for parents and community members.
“Protecting Our Children: Understanding and Monitoring Youth Mental Health” will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, at Naperville City Hall, 400 S. Eagle St., Naperville, IL.
“Our officers go to so many calls involving young people in crisis, and so often we hear from parents that they didn’t realize their child was struggling. We couldn’t just sit by and not do something to try to help,” said Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres. “The signs that indicate a youth is struggling with depression, anxiety or suicidal ideations can be difficult to pick up on, but through this event, we hope to help parents begin to recognize those signs, know where to look for them and understand how to address them.”
The Feb. 24 event will consist of a panel discussion with local experts explaining the types of stressors local teens are facing today, the warning signs that a child is struggling with depression or suicidal ideations, and practical ways parents can monitor for these signs. The following individuals will present:
- Detective Theresa Stock is a 20-year veteran of the Naperville Police Department currently assigned to the department’s Investigations Divisions as the High-Tech Crimes Investigator.
- Ryan S. Lauterwasser, LCPC, CADC, is currently the manager of the Adolescent Inpatient Unit and Eating Disorder Service Line and co-chair for the Inpatient Suicide Prevention Committee at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.
- Matthew Caston, MA, LCPC, is a mental health counselor with the Fox Valley Institute providing treatment for mental and emotional health issues including anxiety, depression, grief, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal impulses.
“Youth mental health was declared a national crisis by three reputable pediatric organizations this fall, and the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory on the same topic in December,” said Nina Menis, CEO and Executive Director of KidsMatter. “Naperville’s teens are not immune to the stresses youth throughout the country are experiencing, which means we need to embrace our mission of prevention by helping parents recognize the signs that their child is struggling and how to address it.”
Questions for the panelists may be asked during a structured Q&A after the presentations or can be submitted to KidsMatter in advance on KidsMatter’s event webpage or via email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit questions before Tuesday, Feb. 22.
Attendees will also have the opportunity to speak individually with panelists and representatives from other area organizations and service providers during an on-site resource fair immediately following the presentation. Providers continue to be added to the fair, which is hosted by the Collaborative Youth Team. A complete list of resource fair participants will be available closer to the date of the event on the event webpage provided above.
Additional support for this event has been provided by the DuPage Foundation, which will allow for the live streaming of the panel discussion. Live stream information will be released closer to the date of the forum on the event webpage provided above.
“We are really encouraging in-person attendance, with recommended COVID-19 mitigations in place, to give attendees the opportunity to fully take advantage of the number of experts and resources that are going to be available at the resource fair,” said Menis. “This is going to be a phenomenal opportunity to ask questions and talk one-on-one with providers about their family’s specific situation or concerns.”
About Naperville: Located 28 miles west of Chicago, Naperville, Ill., is home to approximately 145,000 people. This vibrant, thriving city consistently ranks as a top community in the nation in which to live, raise children and retire. The city is home to acclaimed public and parochial schools, the best public library system in the country, an array of healthcare options and an exceptionally low crime rate. Naperville has ready access to a variety of public transportation, housing and employment options. The city’s diversified employer base features high technology firms, retailers and factories, as well as small and home-based businesses. Residents also enjoy world-class parks, diverse worship options, the opportunity to serve on several City boards and commissions, a thriving downtown shopping and dining area, a renowned outdoor history museum known as Naper Settlement and an active civic community. For more information, please visit our website at www.naperville.il.us.