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District hosting two mental health events for parents

East Grand Rapids — The district is seeking to empower parents with information about mental health issues during two upcoming events at the high school’s performing arts center, 2211 Lake Drive SE.

“Starting Early: How Social Media & Technology Affect Mental Health,” a presentation for parents and guardians of elementary- and middle-school students, will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. 

“Adolescent Mental Health & Substance Use,” geared toward parents and guardians of middle- and high-school students, is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 21.

Technology, social media and substance use were identified as key areas of interest by the district’s mental health professionals in recent conversations with parents, said Lauren Ahlers, district wellness coordinator.

“We’re noticing a trend that children are using technology and social media a lot earlier,” Ahlers said, “so we want to be able to empower parents to understand appropriate uses.”

The hope is for parents to leave with the knowledge to start conversations with their children about technology use and social media. 

The presentation on substance use will focus on its effects, ages of onset, what factors drive kids to vape, drink or use other illicit substances and what resources are available to help families

Both presentations will touch on “tips and tricks” for monitoring the behaviors of students, Ahlers said.

Read more from East Grand Rapids: 
Beyond robotics: club has global reach
Kindergartners make the most out of playtime thanks to new equipment

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Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley
Riley Kelley is a reporter covering Cedar Springs, Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids and Sparta school districts. An award-winning journalist, Riley spent eight years with the Ludington Daily News, reporting, copy editing, paginating and acting as editor for its weekly entertainment section. He also contributed to LDN’s sister publications, Oceana’s Herald-Journal and the White Lake Beacon. His reporting on issues in education and government has earned accolades from the Michigan Press Association and Michigan Associated Press Media Editors. Riley’s early work in journalism included a stint as an on-air news reporter for WMOM Radio, and work on the editorial staff of various student publications. Riley is a graduate of Grand Valley State University. He originally hails from western Washington.


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