Students and Parents Attend Mental Health Presentations

Nuha Momin, Index Manager

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  • High School Completion Specialist Trissa Williams gives an introduction of the presenter.

  • Parents pick up handouts as they walk in.

  • Therapist Ms. Lauren Garfield starts off her speech.

  • Ms. Garfield gives the audience a “homework” assignment.

  • Ms. Williams and Support Counselor Christine Stanton listen to the presentation.

  • Ms. Garfield discusses different types of stress.

  • Parents participate in a poll on their children’s biggest stresses.

  • Ms. Garfield wraps up her speech.

  • After the speech, Ms. Garfield shakes hands with a parent.

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Support counselor Ms. Christine Stanton and high school completion specialist Ms. Trissa Williams invited Ms. Lauren Garfield, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) to Westwood on Wednesday, Sept. 19. She was able to talk to parents about what’s going on in teenage brains, common stressors, coping skills, and when to jump in and help their child. This hour and a half lecture was held in order to educate parents on how to be more supportive and aware of their child’s mental health.

“We did a poll in the last couple of years which informed us about what parents were wanting, and what teachers saw in their students. Stress was one [thing they wanted to learn more about],” Ms. Stanton said. “We found that if we got someone to come and talk with the parents about what stress looks like and what their kid may be experiencing, then they could start having those kind of conversations with their kids.”

As parents walked into the meeting in the Great Room, they picked up various handouts, including business cards and papers that the parents and students could fill out together at home in order for parents to better understand what is happening in their child’s life. In addition to giving parents homework, Ms. Garfield also went through her PowerPoint presentation and had parents take a poll on what they thought stressed their kids out the most. The number one cause was school.

“I really am passionate about parents understanding their teenagers and where they’re at, and the way that families can really help their kids survive stress,” Ms. Garfield said. “Westwood has a reputation of being quite stressful and so I thought [that by coming] it was a good opportunity to help some people out.”

Ms. Garfield is a part of Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists in Round Rock and Westlake and helps manage and build positive bonds between children, family and parents. Austin Anxiety and OCD Specialists help with group, individual and family therapy as well as intensive outpatient treatment and parent coaching. Visit austinanxiety.com for more information.