On March 30th, French-American Aid for Children presented the latest edition of its Child Health Webinar Series. This episode focused on children’s emotional well-being in the post-covid environment.
The pandemic has left in its trail a concerning mental health crisis among youth. Pediatricians are noticing an alarming shift in both the growing number of patients and the increasing range of ages of children dealing with anxiety and depression. Many parents or guardians feel helpless when their children encounter mental health issues. They often feel ill-equipped to either identify problems or offer proper help.
Our expert panelists and moderator discussed how to best identify the signs and symptoms of a child’s struggles and helped us understand when those become cause for concern. They emphasized the importance of school or afterschool-based programs, provided on-point advice and answered all your questions on the importance of partnering with educators and counselors to better support your child.
Caroline Mendel, PsyD, is the Senior Director of Clinical Services for School and Community Programs and a psychologist in the ADHD and Behavior Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. Dr. Mendel oversees the implementation of clinical programs in high-need public schools in New York City and the San Francisco Bay Area. She has expertise in providing school consultation, training school staff, and giving workshops to educators, administrators and school board members.
Michelle Watsula received her MA and Ed.M in psychological counseling from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2011 and has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in the state of NY since 2013. Since then, Michelle has pursued her passion for supporting children, adolescents, and families by helping them reach their full potential through a variety of roles including a children’s counselor at a domestic violence shelter and serving as a therapist in NY Foundling’s School Based Mental Health Program (SBMH). Since starting with the Foundling in 2016, Michelle helped launch a mental health clinic at a specialized high school and then transitioned to directly supervising therapists in a similar role. For the past several years, Michelle has been overseeing the entire SBMH team of approximately 20 therapists, family advocates, interns, and supervisors who directly support 20 schools throughout NYC by providing high quality mental health services to the students and enhancing the capacity of the school communities in meeting the social, emotional, and mental health needs of the student population. When not working, Michelle enjoys running and traveling with her husband and rambunctious 5 year old.
Nilsa Rosario was raised and educated in the Bronx. She graduated from Lehman College and began to work for the Department of Education as a teacher. This experience opened her eyes to her students' emotional needs, fears and homelife stressors.
She joined Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club site while working as a teacher. She worked in the Education Department as an education coordinator helping members work on their academic weaknesses. Many of the members were also her students. Kips Bay became an outlet after school for the members to develop their social skills, strengthen their academic skills.
While working at Lucile Palmaro Clubhouse, she graduated from Fordham University with a M.S. in Education and Professional Diploma in Bilingual School Psychology and began her career as a School Psychologist within the Dept. Of Education.
She is currently working at the Lucile Palmaro Clubhouse, creating a Counseling Department, as the Health and Wellness Coordinator. Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club will offer access to its club members and provide preventive mental health skills and direct counseling services. The Club is a safe place where members will learn to advocate for themselves and develop positive social skills.
Visit The New York Foundling and learn how they provide students, families, and entire school communities with supportive mental health services within all five boroughs of New York City.