Back to School: Therapy helps students in crisis mode

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Today is the first day of school for many Hudson Valley students, and many kids will silently suffer with mental or emotional issues.  

From social media pressure to studying for exams - it's easy to feel lost.

Many school districts are now turning toward a form of therapy which helps students find balance and happiness.

Before graduating high school in June, Daisy Martin, was facing many challenges. “High school can be really intimidating place, especially when you’re moving a lot,” says Martin.

Pair that with social media and trying to make new friends, the quiet 19-year-old was overwhelmed and not sharing her feelings until she began something called “Dialectical Behavior Therapy.”

Schools like Henrick Hudson are implementing DBT to help students who are struggling mentally or emotionally, or even feeling suicidal. “Taking a deep breath and being able to regain your sense so your emotions aren’t controlling you, you are able to control your emotions,“ says Megan Brenner, Henrick Hudson school district social worker

Brenner says DBT centers around three areas: managing your emotions, controlling distress-like symptoms when students are in crisis mode, and improving interpersonal skills. She says DBT helps teens combat negative thoughts by paying attention to being present. “Lots of times people are either focused on something in the past or something on the future and theoretically I label that as depression being stuck in the past and anxiety being stuck in the forward thinking. What about the here and now?”

Daisy Martin’s father says he notices a difference in his daughter since she began DBT. “Daisy is a very well balanced non-reactive person. Everybody is so concerned about what everybody else is thinking all the time that for someone to say how they’re actually feeling isn’t really popular and so in order for children or young adults to understand the benefit of that you have to have the fork facilitators,” says Jerry Martin.

Daisy says she hopes that expressing her feelings will help her and others into the future. “DBT will help me. I learned so many skills with how to deal with certain emotions. When you’re dealing with things like suicide, anxiety and depression, being alone and by yourself is definitely not the thing to do.”

Henrick Hudson is not the only school district using DBT. A majority of districts around the Hudson Valley have implemented this form of therapy.



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