Indian Prairie Unit District 204 to host annual mental health symposium

Indian Prairie Unit District 204’s second annual mental health symposium will be held on Saturday, March 9, at Metea Valley High School, 1801 N. Eola Road in Aurora. This event, which is free and open to the public, will be from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

It will feature a variety of mental health resources for parents and students in eighth to 12th grade.

The mental health symposium will include a keynote session by author Devorah Heitner, who is the author of “Growing Up in Public and Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World.”

Heitner's work has appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and CNN Opinion. She has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology & Society from Northwestern University and has taught at DePaul and Northwestern.

The keynote will be followed by a panel discussion with local experts to discuss the relevance of Heitner’s presentation in our schools and local community.

Attendees can anticipate a variety of breakout sessions tailored to both adults and teens, covering topics ranging from practical strategies for managing anxiety to embracing resilience and self-esteem.

The event also will feature a book fair, a community resource fair, and child care services for children, age 3 to 10.

For more information and registration, visit the Mental Health Symposium webpage,

Presentations for adults

• Calming Spaces — An Alternative to Time Out: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with speaker Tracy Schwartz of Indian Prairie School District 204;

• Talk 2 Me — Creating Safe Spaces for Conversation: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with speakers Amit Thakker, Jessica Casey, and Jennifer Grey of Referral GPS;

• Proven Brain Hacks to Better Mental Health: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Mike Bushman of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention;

• Overscheduled and Overwhelmed — Helping Your Teen Find Balance: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Kristi Ore of SunCloud Health;

• Up in Smoke — Understanding Today's Scene in Adolescent Substance Use: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Beth Menges of Linden Oaks Hospital;

• Practical Strategies to Manage Your Child's Anxiety: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Laura Koehler, Psy.D. of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health;

• Empathy — A Practice in Understanding Our Teens: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Leigh Nelson and Karen Rosenberg of NAMI DuPage;

• Self-Injury Phenomenon — Getting to the Root: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Dr. Mary Ihnenfeld of the Grow Wellness Group;

• What Your Child May Not Tell You — Lessons From a Retired High School Principal from 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Dr. Darrell Echols of Indian Prairie Unit District 204;

• Parenting With Purpose — Embracing Family Values Over Behavior: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Christina Maki of Fox Valley Institute

Presentations for Teens

• Harnessing and Quieting Your Inner Critic: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Emily Pagone of Authentic Growth Wellness Group;

• How to Love Your Body in a Toxic World!: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Dr. Maria Rago of Rago and Associates;

• Rhythms of Resilience — Hip-Hop and Personal Reflection: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with DeAngelo Gerald of Downers Grove South High School;

• A Teen's Guide to Understanding Self-Injury: 9:45 to 10:30 a.m. with Dr. Mary Ihnenfeld of Grow Wellness Group;

• How to Create Body Confidence and Improve Self-Esteem: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Kirsten Book of Kirsten Book LLC;

• Building Mental Toughness and Resilience: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Eddie Perry of Grow Wellness Group

• Embrace Your Superpower — Understanding How to Make Your ADHD a Strength: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Kevin Barton of Konick & Associates;

• Achieving Balance in a World that Expects Perfection: 10:45 to 11:30 a.m. with Sarah Greene-Falk of Grow Therapy.

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