May is Mental Health Awareness Month

May is mental health awareness month. While every day should usher in opportunities to support each others’ emotional well-being, this month we shine a spotlight on mental health issues in the hopes of destigmatizing these diagnoses and supporting those in need.

There’s never been a more relevant time for these reflections. Data from a CDC study that surveyed nearly 2,000 students demonstrate that mental health is worsening for all adolescents, but in particular for girls. The investigators reported, “America’s teen girls are engulfed in a growing wave of sadness, violence, and trauma.” Mental health emergency room visits for this age group are at an all-time high, and study respondents reported an alarming 25% of girls had at one point devised a suicide plan. In the past two years, the number of ER visits for suicide attempts in girls has increased more than 50%.

It’s no secret that pandemic-driven social isolation and elimination of major milestone celebrations contributed to teenagers’ misery. On a national scale, political and racial unrest can make the future seem chaotic and unpredictable, which only fuels the disquiet that we all feel when we watch the news. Aside from existential unease, the internet provides a source of very real and personal danger. The anonymity of online hate speech grants access to trolls spewing hostile rancor at individuals or marginalized groups. For teenagers who are, developmentally, establishing a personal identity, these assaults can disrupt the natural rhythm of this evolution, and can leave lasting scars.

But even neutral content on the internet can be damaging. The beauty standards set by celebrities on social media demand an unrealistic norm. Photoshopping and air-brushing enhance faces and bodies of posters and set an expectation that perfection is the baseline. Some social media scrollers spend upwards of 6 hours a day on these apps, and could see hundreds or even thousands of photos of models and influencers every day, and they internalize these unattainable beauty ideals, generating dissatisfaction with their own imperfections, no matter how minor. Results of a study out of Ontario by the American Psychological Association demonstrated that teen girls who took even a three-week break from social media reported “vastly improved” self-image.

No one is immune to these effects, as evidenced by the rising incidence of eating disorders and mood conditions in both boys and girls. While perhaps not as dire as the girls’ situation, the statistics surrounding adolescent boys’ mental health are daunting as well. And as the line between genders fades to a spectrum, the conversation will evolve to reflect the additional stressors that contribute to all adolescent mental health disorders. But even faced with these worsening facts and figures, we are not without hope.

The theme of 2023’s Mental Health Awareness month is “Look around, look within.” It’s a reminder that while many stressors come from outside sources, there are internal factors, like genetics, as well. Recognition that we are humans with faults can go a long way toward cultivating acceptance and tolerance. This year’s theme should also prompt us to look around at others to see what they need, and search within ourselves to recognize ways we can help bridge that gap. Examining the important role of mental health, particularly in the lives of developing young minds in the digital age, is a worthwhile endeavor.

From UH Pediatrician and PSI Medical Expert – Dr. Carly Wilbur.

Click here for more great insights from Dr. Wilbur.


2023 Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon Announces Education Partnership with PSI Solutions

CLEVELAND – (April 27, 2023) – The Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon announced today an educational initiative with Twinsburg-based PSI Solutions (PSI), a leading provider of school health and educational solutions. The initiative provides resources and support to local schools, students and community members on both race weekend and beyond.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon to raise the power of education,” said Meredith Sitko, Director of Strategy and Operations at PSI. “We believe partnership is critical to success in all arenas; it’s certainly the foundation of our model. This work showcases our commitment to the whole child, and the whole educator, by promoting physical, as well as mental well-being.”

PSI will host a specially-designed “Education Station” during the race at Metro Catholic, a partner school located on the marathon route. The station will provide aid to participants who work in the education field and a home for their supporters to cheer them on.

In addition, PSI will sponsor an education race team and the UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital Kids’ Run. PSI is the Official School Health and Educational Support Services Partner of UH Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital.

“We love working with both these organizations,” Sitko added. “It is not surprising that the mission of each of our pillar partners in the area, UH and the Cleveland Marathon, align so seamlessly.”

“We are grateful for the support of the PSI team in our mission to promote health and wellness in our community,” said Ralph Staph, Cleveland Marathon Race Director. “Whether you decide to run your first 5k, or your latest marathon, you learn a lot about yourself on the course, and in your training. PSI’s commitment to education aligns perfectly with our values, and we are excited to work together to make a positive impact on the lives of local teachers and students.”

PSI has been a trusted partner in education and health for over 45 years, providing support services to schools and communities across the state of Ohio and beyond. PSI invites all members of the community to join them in raising the power of education at the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon. To learn more about PSI Solutions and their commitment to education and health, visit their website at

About PSI Solutions

PSI is a leading provider of educational and health solutions, serving schools and communities across the county for over 45 years. The company’s mission is to improve the lives of individuals by providing high-quality educational and health services that empower students, families, and communities to achieve their full potential. For more information, visit

About the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon

One of the 50 oldest races in the country, the Union Home Mortgage Cleveland Marathon features the following opportunities: Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K and Challenge Series. Online registration and additional information are available at

There are opportunities for non-profit organizations to raise funds through their participation in the race through Cleveland Marathon Charities. Find out more at

Drugs of Addiction Webinar: What Educators Need to Know

This special seminar presented by Nancy E. Pommerening, OCPS and Director: Drug Awareness and Prevention Inc. provides an overview of marijuana, its dangers, and how youth attitudes towards it have changed. In addition, we will examine other illicit drugs, the process of addiction, and possible solutions to the opiate crisis and other substances of abuse.


-The participant will understand current rates of usage and levels of marijuana potency in northeast Ohio.
-The participant will understand the process of addiction, and who is most at risk for the disease.
-The participant will be able to list 3 prevention strategies for your students that reduce substance abuse.

Register by Clicking Here

Myths About Online Therapy: BUSTED!!

PSI discusses Myths about Online Therapy!

Myth #1: Telepractice is an inferior therapy model and not face-to-face.
vpsi1Reality: VirtualPSI is a face-to-face service delivery model accomplished electronically. Students engage in real-time, state-of-the-art digital platform with a trained, state and nationally certified professional. Studies have shown that telepractice outcomes match, and at times, exceed traditional therapy models

Myth #2: Students have a difficult time engaging in telepractice because the technology is complicated and cumbersome.
vpsi2Reality: Today’s students are considered “digital natives” and have been exposed to technology since birth. VirtualPSI’s digital platform provides a dynamic, yet uncomplicated electronic environment to achieve their goals.

Myth #3: Online services limit interactions with other staff members.
Reality: VirtualPSI’s digital platform provides the optimal environment for teacher collaboration and open communication with the special education team. With the click of a button, our staff professional can participate in meetings, attend parent conferences, collaborate with building staff members and administrators, and contribute necessary information, as needed. Participation is seamless, timely and effective.vpsi3

Myth #4: Telepractice is electronically unsafe.
Reality: VirtualPSI uses a state-of-the-art encrypted platform that adheres to HIPAA guidelines. Additionally, VirtualPSI’s licensed professionals are held to the same standards and code of ethics of service delivery as when services are delivered in person.

vpsi4What should you do next?   For more information or a VirtualPSI demo call 800.841.4774 ext 257 or e-mail

Learn more by clicking here.


Did you miss the free webinar on…

Did you miss the free webinar on “What educators and parents need to know about the Netflix Series, 13 Reasons Why”? Click here for a listing of all of our free webinars that you can watch.

PSI Expert recently presented at the ISCA Conference in Prague, Czech Republic


Scott Poland an Expert Partner of PSI Recently Presented at the International School Counseling Association Conference (ISCA) in Prague, Czech Republic

The ISCA conference was held March 9 to 11, 2017 in the Czech Republic and was attended by over 130 counselors from 45 different countries. The counselors in attendance represented 80 different international schools. Dr. Poland provided two keynote addresses with the first one entitled, School Counselors Making a Difference in Crisis Intervention. His second keynote was entitled, Youth Suicide: The Critical Role of School Counselors in Prevention, Intervention and Postvention. Dr. Poland also provided three workshops entitled Non-Suicidal Self Injury: Critical Issues for School Counselors, Safeguarding Children in a Challenging World: A Presentation by Counselors for Parents and Contemporary Issues in School Crisis.

To learn more about PSI services contact us at 1-800-841-4774 or contact us at



Watch PSI Expert Dr. Scott Poland assisting in Colorado with Suicide Tragedies

In late 2016, in the wake of more tragedies and more teen suicides in Academy School District 20 in Pueblo, CO, News5 interviewed PSI Expert, Dr. Scott Poland with the goal to put a stop to teen suicide in their community.

Dr. Scott Poland, a licensed psychologist who is internationally recognized as an expert on youth suicide is one of the national experts D-20 is working with as they deal proactively with this crisis.  Our thoughts go out to this community.  Watch two videos with Dr. Scott Poland covered by KOAA in Colorado. | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo




Dec16_SocialWe at the PSI management level are SO proud of the work you are doing in your schools and communities. We also feel there are many unsung HEROES out there and would like to feature them via the various PSI social media connections. If you’re interested and want to highlight what you or a co-worker is doing, please sign on to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn and liking, following, or re-tweeting our posts.

Comments and replies to our posts are just as important. After a presentation or event, posting a few words or review will go a long way. If we feature an interesting article, “this is a very interesting read!” will do the trick.  If you feel a friend of yours would like one of our posts, you can share the article through Facebook.

Find us HERE:


Implementing Direct Instruction in Today’s Classroom

PSI employees were energized again in an afternoon session led by PSI Fall Meeting keynote speaker William J. DeMeo. This time, DeMeo presented on differentiating instruction in the classroom.

Leading off with an engaging introduction video, participants were left with some mportant messages, including the need to look beyond classroom walls to see what awaits our students and that teachers need to be the innovator, motivator, and facilitator of learning.

Dec16_DirectInstructAttendees then participated in activities lead by DeMeo, including active learning activities like think-pair-share discussion and silent partner writing. With think-pair-share, learners are able to think for themselves, share their ideas with a partner, and ultimately discuss with the entire group. Silent partner writing involves writing down thoughts and questions about a picture, quotation, or discussion question. Partners pass the paper they write on back and forth and engage in a conversation without using spoken words.

DeMeo also stressed the importance of flexible grouping in the classroom. Flexible grouping allows teachers to group their students by three group types: flexible, which includes readiness and learning style; ability/aptitude groups; and cooperative groups. Flexible groupings can be done with the whole class or just half of the class, in teams, in student-led small groups, and with partners.

As with many activities in the classroom, some students will finish their work ahead of their peers. The same can hold true with flexible groupings, and DeMeo says that teachers can provide anch
or activities an learning stations for students to complete when the assigned task is complete. Anchor activities provide meaningful work for students when they are finished with an assigned task or when they are stumped and waiting for teacher assistance. Anchor activities also provide ongoing tasks that tie to content and instruction. Some examples of anchor activities include investigations, vocabulary work, magazine articles with generic questions, journals and learning logs, silent reading, activity boxes, and learning packets.

While DeMeo left participants with a variety of classroom activities to try out with their students, he also asked them why differentiate? He discussed with participants that the student population is not the same as it was 50 years ago, and that families have also changed over time. Passive learning, like lectures, reading, and even audiovisual are not as effective with today’s students. The current student population learns best by teaching others and using their learning immediately, practicing by doing, and having group discussions.

Individualizing student instruction will allow students to reach their full potential. DeMeo left participants with a question to ponder: Will one size fits all curriculum be effective (if it ever was)?


NASP Guidance for Reinforcing Safe, Supportive and Positive School Environments for All Students

The 2016 election has been long and fraught with strong emotions. As a nation, we have much to do to heal the divisiveness that has resulted.

As parents, caregivers, and educators, we have a critical responsibility to Dec16_NASPguidehelp children and youth feel safe and secure and learn how to engage with others of differing viewpoints in a peaceful, tolerant, and respectful manner

As always, schools play a critical role in this process by creating a positive learning environment for all students. It is imperative that educators facilitate respectful discussions among students and safeguard the well-being of those who may feel at risk. Below are recommendations for how adults can support children and youth in the days and months ahead.

Reinforce a sense of positive school community. Establishing positive relationships between adults and students is foundational to safe, successful learning environments. Such relationships are built on a sense of mutual trust and respect. Maintain culturally and linguistically responsive practices and ensure that students and their families feel connected and engaged. We function as a nation only when we have that shared sense of relationship; helping children identify and develop those relationships is vital.

Model and teach desired behaviors. We know that adult actions and attitudes influence children. Adults can help children and youth manage their reactions to events in the news and their communities by understanding their feelings, modeling healthy coping strategies, and closely monitoring their own emotional states and that of those in their care. Identifying and redirecting negative thoughts and feelings can help to teach children social–emotional skills and problem solving.

Reassure children that they are and will be okay. Many children and youth are aware of the intensity of this election, and some may feel at risk. It is important to reinforce strategies to ensure both physical and psychological safety. Remind adults and students of the importance of supporting each other during difficult times and acknowledge people will have a variety of emotions. If students feel physically or psychologically unsafe, they need to know how to report incidences, and trust that adults will be there to validate and respond to their concerns.

Help children manage strong emotions. For many children, the intense discussions, media images, and messages that they were exposed to during the election can trigger a range of strong emotions. Some children may experience anger or stress. Others may feel a sense of excitement and hope. Children’s emotions often spill over into schools. Help children understand the range of emotions that they are feeling and to learn to express them in appropriate and respectful ways. For children experiencing stress, we can help by spending time with them, encouraging them to talk about their feelings, maintaining a sense of normalcy in their schedules and activities, and providing coping strategies.

Reinforce acceptance and appreciation for diversity as critical American values. Acknowledge that everyone is entitled to their personal opinions but that hateful or intolerant comments about others’ cultures, sexual orientations, religions, or races—or any other comments that are meant to hurt or make another feel threatened, unsafe, or unwelcome—will not be tolerated.

Stop any type of harassment or bullying immediately. Make it clear that such behavior is unacceptable. Talk to the children involved about the reasons for their behavior. Offer alternative methods of expressing their anger, confusion, or insecurity, and provide supports for those who are subject to bullying. School staff can encourage students to continue to be respectful of others.

Help children see other perspectives and value respectful dialogue. Sharing our different points of view and working to find common ground, shared goals, and mutual understanding is the best way to draw strength from our diversity. The very nature of civil disagreement is to acknowledge respectfully the views and experiences of other people and learn from differing perspectives.

Adults can start by reflecting on their own experiences and how these shape their interactions and reactions. They can help children to do the same and ask questions of each other, rather than hurl accusations. Adults can create safe spaces for youth to share their feelings and concerns while also exploring how they might feel and act if they were in someone else’s shoes. Help students see how words matter, as does how we use them. Teach them to avoid stigmatizing statements and to state their thoughts with opening phrases like, “I believe” or “Have you thought about” instead of “Anybody who” or “No one should.”

Discuss the importance of respecting our democratic process. Despite the divisive nature of the election, Americans voted all across the country in a peaceful and respectful manner. Our system of government is based on the same peaceful and orderly transfer of power in January. Millions of Americans exercised their right to vote and the system is responding accordingly. This is the underpinning of democracy. Highlight how important it is that all citizens engage in the democratic process, not just during a presidential election, but all of the time and at all levels of government. Discourage students from seeing the election in terms of winners and losers but rather the need to focus on common goals such as creating a strong economy for everyone and finding a path to move forward as one country.

Encourage children to channel their views and feelings into positive action. We are all part of the American community and can make positive contributions. Like adults, children and youth are empowered by the ability to do the right thing and help others. Working with classmates or members of the community who come from different backgrounds not only enables children to feel that they are making a positive contribution, it also reinforces their sense of commonality with diverse people.

For additional information and resources to help support children and youth, visit