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School families invited to learn more about mental health resources


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MEDFORD -- St. Raphael Parish School in Medford is hosting a presentation from Franciscan Children's Hospital Mental Health Education Program on children's mental health wellness on Wednesday, Jan. 23, and invites families and staffs from Metro North Region Catholic Schools to attend.

The presentation by Franciscan Children's Hospital Mental Health Education Program Manager Patricia Coffey will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the St. Raphael Parish Center, located at 514 High Street in Medford.

This program is part of the "Kids Healthy Minds Initiative," which is a mental health awareness and community education program that is held in partnership with the Archdiocese of Boston.

The partnership was developed to help children who are showing early signs of mental illness. The goals of the initiative are threefold: Increase community awareness about the youth mental health crisis; teach people about the early warning signs of pediatric mental illness; and decrease the stigma and misconceptions surrounding mental illness and its treatment.

Early action is essential. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in five youth living in the U.S. have a mental health diagnosis; 50 percent of psychiatric disorders begin by age 14; and 50 percent of those 14 and older living with a mental illness drop out of high school.

Mark Bedrosian, principal of St. Raphael School, is hosting the event for the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic schools in the Metro North Region.

"The Kids Healthy Minds Initiative collaboration is an amazing opportunity for families in our school communities to understand the importance of mental health and wellness, know that there are services available that are aligned with Catholic mission and identity, and remove the stigma associated with mental health maintenance and wellness. We appreciate the support made available through this collaboration and will make sure all of our families are aware that the wellness of our students is our priority," Bedrosian said.

The partnership between the Archdiocese of Boston and Franciscan Children's Hospital officially began October 2018. At the time, Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley said, "We are at a crossroads as a society in addressing the mental health crisis gripping our communities here and across our nation."

"The Archdiocese of Boston is pleased to have the opportunity to work with Franciscan's Children's in this initiative. Working with our parishes and schools, we are going to reach as many young people and families as possible to educate them with the information and support to save lives and provide hope," he continued.

Franciscan Children's Hospital Mental Health Education Program Manager Patricia Coffey will present services available for children through their partnership with the Archdiocese of Boston. The free event is Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor conference room of the Parish Center, located at 514 High Street in Medford.

Parishes or schools interested in hosting a presentation of the "Kids Healthy Minds Initiative," are invited contact Mental Health Education Program Manager Patricia Coffey at 617-779-1296.

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