The Roland-Story school district is holding its first mental health event for students, parents and the public on Thursday, March 22, from 6 p.m. to 8:40 p.m. The informative evening is intended to offer information on a variety of current mental health topics impacting youth and adults.

Booths at “Be Kind to Your Mind” will open at 6 p.m., and keynote speaker Brian Carico will open the event in the high school auditorium at 6:20 p.m. After that, there will be three session times where attendees can choose a topic of their choice and attend breakouts in various parts of the building.

Breakout sessions will be on the topics of depression, cyber bullying, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, depression, self-injurious behaviors, eating disorders, the whole-brain child and trauma.

The keynote address will be on the topic of depression and suicide. Carico is a suicide survivor of both his son and father and is an advocate for survivors and those that suffer in silence.

He has been in education for the past 26 years. During that time, he has been a passionate supporter of students that struggle, both academically and emotionally. He has served on a variety of committees and served on three different board of directors of organizations that focus on helping teens.

Carico will address Gatekeeper training for suicide prevention. Gatekeeper Training is designed to teach lay and professional “gatekeepers” the warning signs of a suicide.

K.C. Moore and Annie Lass, from Compass Tree Counseling in Ames, will offer a session about “Cyber Bullying and Cyber Safety.” This crash course in cyber bullying and cyber safety will highlight the impacts social media has on mental health and your child. Techniques on how to talk to your children and ways to keep them safe in an online world will be discussed.

Jessica Hoy will lead a session about anxiety. It will touch on subjects such as: What is anxiety and what is the difference between everyday worry versus an anxiety disorder? What are the different types of anxiety? Why is this on the rise? How can you help your child with anxiety? Hoy is a licensed marriage and family therapist with training in EMDR, Gotten Couples Therapy, Soul College, Trauma and Art Therapy. She is also a certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor with an office in Story City.

A breakout session about ADHD will be led by Warren Phillips, a licensed psychologist who is owner and CEO of Central Iowa Psychological Services. He is also a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Iowa State University.

Phillips’ presentation will focus on an overview of the signs and behavioral characteristics of ADHD with a brief discussion of brain areas involved. An overview of treatment strategies will be discussed including medication therapy, academic accommodations and parenting with a focus on methods of communication. Clinically, Phillips specializes in working with children, teens and families who are seeking help for trauma and/or neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHS, autism and OCD.

Robin Schinnow, of Central Iowa Psychological Services in Ames, will offer a session aimed at middle school and high school students about self-injurious behaviors.

This session will include what warning signs to look for, what self-harm and self-injurious behaviors look like, and what functions they may serve. She will discuss what teens can do if they are self-harming or feel like self-harming, what they can do if they know someone else who is self-harming and alternate, safer ways to get emotional needs met. For parents, Schinnow will talk about how to communicate with their children about self-harm and what steps to take if they find out their child is self-harming.

Tanya Hargrave-Klein will lead a breakout titled “Eating Disorders 101,” which also has a target audience of middle school and high school students. A registered dietitian, Hargrave-Klein holds a master’s degree in kinesiology and has more than 25 years of experience designing and implementing wellness programs in community, worksite and public health environments.

As a mother of a daughter in recovery from an eating disorder, Hargrave-Klein is committed to raising awareness about eating disorders and advocating for eating disorder treatment at the local and federal level.

There is a commonly held view that eating disorders are a lifestyle choice and that eating disorders are about vanity and caused by media influences. In reality, eating disorders are real, life-threatening mental health illnesses with potentially fatal consequences. This session introduces attendees to the complex factors that lead to an eating disorder, the signs of an eating disorder, and how to support friends and loved ones who may be struggling with disordered eating and/or exercise.

The topic “Whole Brain Child — Defining and Maintaining” will be led in three separate sessions by Tracie Engstrom, a mental health therapist in private practice in Nevada.

Engstrom’s first session will define mental health and how it can be nurtured. Discussion will include how we can help children develop secure relationships, use strategies to manage life stressors and create resilience for the future.

The second Whole Brain Child session will deal with managing difficult behavior. Using the book, “The Whole Brain Child” by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson, this session will start with an overview of brain structure and functioning. The breakout will begin exploring strategies to use when children demonstrate difficult behavior.

The third of Engstrom’s sessions will continue with the strategies for dealing with behavioral issues. This session will continue where session one left off discussing strategies and activities to help you and your child manage difficult behaviors.

Jennifer Ulie-Wells will head a session about trauma. With a doctorate in education with emphasis in special education, mental health and social justice, she has been an educator for more than 19 years and has a “strong passion in advocacy for children and adolescent mental wellness.”

In 2013, Ulie-Wells launched, Please Pass the Love ( ), which is dedicated to increasing school-based mental health supports. Participants in this session will learn some basic information on the background and brain science behind ACES, trauma-informed care and the impact of stress in developing youth. Presentation will focus on relationship and connection-based healing.

The Mental Health Team at Roland-Story schools extend their invitation to the public to attend this free event.