Vaping: What You Need to Know

by Dr. Carly Wilbur
University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital

Vaping refers to the inhalation of aerosolized particles of a drug (nicotine or marijuana)  mixed with flavoring. Most vaping  devices  contain a battery for power, a heating  element, a place to insert the drug-containing liquid that will be heated  until it vaporizes, and a mouthpiece.

On the  Rise

Vaping  was initially  developed to help adults quit smoking but has quickly become popular among  teenagers. From 2011 to 2019, the CDC reported a 900% increase in vaping  for high schoolers.  And while current reports estimate about 27% of high schoolers have vaped  or currently vape, 5% of middle schoolers admit  to the same. Vaping  is a $22.6 billion  industry worldwide.

Impact on the  Brain

On a chemical  level, the nicotine salt delivered from  a vape pen is far more powerful than the nicotine free base that cigarette smokers inhale. This makes vaping  nicotine extremely addicting. Studies show that teens who vape are seven times more likely to smoke as adults. And more than half the high schoolers polled  admitted to having had their first vaping  experience at age 11 or younger.

The immature frontal cortex of a teenager’s developing brain is uniquely susceptible to the harmful  effects of nicotine. Regular use can cause long-term irreversible deficits in memory, attention, and concentration, and also mood  disorders and permanent lowering of impulse  control. Tobacco use in adolescence can also prime the brain for addiction to other stimulants of abuse, like cocaine  and methamphetamines.

What’s Next

The Surgeon General accurately labeled  teen vaping  an epidemic. And it’s a gravely dangerous one: Nicotine-related deaths  kill more adult Americans every  year than alcohol,  AIDS, car accidents, illegal drug abuse, murders, and suicides COMBINED.  Make sure you talk openly every  day with your  kids. Preventative education on vaping  is a must in every school, whether it is in health class or part of a science project. Vaping  does not discriminate. Let’s work  together to keep our kids from  vaping.  It might  even save their lives.

Click Here for more on Dr. Carly Wilbur.

Click Here for more on psi and University Hospital’s Rainbow Babies  and Children’s Hospital.

After a Suicide: Answering Student Questions and Providing Support

by Dr. Scott Poland
Co-Director of the  Suicide and Violence Prevention Office, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Richard Lieberman, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California

The aftermath of a youth suicide is a sad and challenging time for a school.  Postvention has become synonymous with the challenging aftermath of suicide and few events  are scarier for a school and a community than the suicide of a young person.

The major  tasks for suicide postvention are to help your  students and fellow  faculty to manage the understandable feelings of shock, grief and confusion. The major  focus at this time should be grief resolution and prevention of further suicides.

The research  literature estimates that once a suicide happens,  the chances of another death  by suicide increases dramatically. The following suggestions are intended to guide  schools during  this difficult time.

  • It is important to be honest with students about the scope of the problem of youth suicide and the key role that everyone (including the students) plays in prevention.
  • It is important to balance being truthful and honest without violating the privacy of the suicide victim  and his/her family  and to take great  care not to glorify the victim’s actions.
  • It is important to have the facts of the incident, be alert to speculation and erroneous information that may be circulating, and assertively yet kindly redirect students toward productive, healthy conversation.
  • It is important that students not feel that the suicide victim has been erased and that students be provided an opportunity to talk about the deceased.
  • Numerous professional associations caution that memorials not be dramatic or permanent, and instead encourage activities that focus on living memorials such as funding suicide prevention.
  • National research has found  that talking  with youth about  suicide does not cause them to think of it, and in fact provides the opportunity for them to relieve  anxiety and unburden themselves. The Jason Flatt Act, which focus- es on mandated training annually  for school staff on suicide prevention, has been passed in 30% of all states. More information about  the Jason Foundation is available  at
  • Major protective factors identified by the World Health Organization are the following: stable families, positive connections at school, good  connections with other  youth, religious  involvement, lack of access to lethal  weap-ons, access to mental  health  care, and awareness of crisis hotline  resources.

Click Here for more on Dr. Scott Poland.

Click Here for more on psi and Suicide  Prevention.

The Ohio Association of Student Councils: Teaching Valuable Leadership Skills in Grades 6 – 12

OASC representative Anthony Paletta (third from right) and the psi team help raise money for OASC’s Northeast Ohio Chapter.

Since 1953, the Ohio Association of Student Councils (soon to be the Ohio Association of Student Leaders in January 2020) has been dedicated to the teaching of leadership skills, organizational skills, and people  skills valuable  to the members  and officers of all student organizations in Ohio. The organization provides high-impact programming and events  for students in grades  6 – 12. All school districts in Ohio can become members  of OASC and send students to OASC events.

OASC Member Benefits Include:

  • Statewide recognition and awards
  • Diverse student networking
  • Opportunities for statewide leadership positions
  • Discounted event pricing for students
  • Student empowerment and school unity
  • Organization and advisor resources and support
  • Community involvement and growth of servant leadership

Upcoming OASC events during  the 2019-2020 school year include several events this fall: Leadership at the Point/Island (alternates each year), COSI Leadership Day, Middle Level Madness (an all-day  Saturday event)  and the Fall Retreat (a weekend in November), as well as the OASC State Conference in March and a week-long Summer Workshop Camp next summer.


  • 91% of OASC students go on to college and career education.
  • Last year, 1,300 students attended OASC’s Summer Workshop.
  • 97% of Americans believe our students need “real world” skills to be successful beyond middle and high school . – “Leadership Conference Education Fund, National  Survey on Common Core(2015)”

Click Here for more information about OASC.


Staff and Student Trainings for SY 2019-2020

Schedule now for your 2019-2020 staff and student trainings!

Safety and Violence Prevention Training (now includes the  required 2-hour mental health component)

CPR/AED/First Aid Training

Anti-Bullying Programs

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Training

Bloodborne Pathogen Training Diabetes

Education – HB 264

PBIS / RTI LifeAct


Communicable Disease

Epinephrine Auto Injector Training

Crisis Intervention Team Training

and many others!

Our expert partners and professional trainers  are up to date on the latest changes in education. psi will keep your school in compliance and add value to your team!

psi Sponsors: LifeAct’s 2019 Into the Light Walk!

The 14th annual LifeAct Into the Light Walk took  place recently on May 5, 2019.  This year’s event  brought in roughly

900 registered walkers,  students, volunteers, sponsors  and choir members. psi was part of a record-breaking number

of sponsors  this year!  University Hospitals  and 91.3 The Summit were two  of the 20 partner sponsors  that we had the opportunity to connect with this year at the event.   Keynote speaker  Loree Vick gave a heartfelt and endearing speech that left a lasting impression on all in attendance.

President of the Youth Advisory Board for LifeAct, Cami Kaye, also spoke at the event  and did not cease to amaze attendants with her poise, strength and conviction beyond her years.  We are excited to see what  the future holds for Cami.  Positive  outcomes for this event  are still having lasting effects weeks after  the event  is over, with donations still pouring in for the LifeAct organization and positive feedback from  all in attendance.

psi is the educational arm of LifeAct’s mission to deliver  lifesaving suicide prevention educational programs to North- east Ohio middle  schools and high schools.  Trained, caring instructors teach teens to recognize the warning signs of depression and suicide, empowering them to come forward to seek professional help for themselves or others.

The Into the Light Walk is a great  way for students, families, communities and survivors to connect with and support one another, and psi is very proud to be a part of this effort. We are thankful to have been a part of the 2019 experience and look forward to next year’s event!

Click Here  for more on LifeAct.

Click Here  for more on psi and LifeAct.