NPD and KidsMatter to Host Youth Mental Health Community Forum

NPD and KidsMatter to Host Youth Mental Health Community Forum
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Youth Mental Health Forum

The Naperville Police Department and nonprofit KidsMatter have partnered up to provide a community forum and resource fair about youth mental health for parents. “Protecting Our Children: Understanding and Monitoring Youth Mental Health” will discuss local stressors, signs a child is struggling, and how parents can help.

“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.”

Panel Discussion

The panel discussion will have three local experts. The first is Detective Theresa Stock, who is a 20-year veteran of the Naperville Police Department and currently assigned as the high-tech crimes investigator. The second is Ryan S. Lauterwasser, the manger of the adolescent inpatient unit and eating disorder service line and co-chair for the inpatient suicide prevention committee at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health. And the third is Matthew Caston, who is a mental health counselor with the Fox Valley Institute.

“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, Questions need to be submitted by February 22.

Resource Fair

Attendees will also have the opportunity to speak with panelists and representatives from other area organizations and service providers during an on-site resource fair following the presentation. The DuPage Foundation will be livestreaming the panel discussion for those who can’t attend in person. Livestream information will be shared closer to the date of the forum.

Protecting Our Children: Understanding and Monitoring Youth Mental Health will take place at 7 p.m. on February 24 at Naperville City Hall, 400 S. Eagle Street.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.