Conversations About Student Mental Health

Conversations About Student Mental Health

In this podcast, we talk with school administrators, educators, clinicians, and parents to open a dialogue that will help the growing number of students struggling with mental illness.


February 27, 2023 48 mins

In this episode Chris Leonard, Thrive’s Chief Learning Officer, spoke with Alina Liao, the founder and CEO of Zenit, a ”radical wellness” company whose philosophy is that everything we do must advance the wellness of all our stakeholders.

Highlights include:

  • How journaling can be an extremely powerful mental health tool
  • Leaning into tradeoffs and why this is so important in cultivating wellness
  • The importance of coming back to prid...
Mark as Played

In this episode Chris Leonard, Thrive’s Chief Learning Officer, recently spoke with power couple, Michael and Nita Creekmore about their firsthand knowledge of the current challenges that students, teachers, and parents are facing and clear ideas of how to support ourselves, our children, our students and our colleagues. 

Highlights include:

  • Challenges among students and staff right now and what to expect as we move into 2023
  • Supp...
Mark as Played

In this episode Chris Leonard, Thrive’s Chief Learning Officer, recently spoke with Dr. Michael J. Hynes, Superintendent of the Port Washington School District in New York and an award-winning educator who advocates for a holistic approach to educating children. Dr. Hynes shared strategies for helping staff navigate the challenges ahead, along with his secret sauce for helping students get the most out of school. 

Highlights include...

Mark as Played

In this episode of Conversations About Student Mental Health, Chris Leonard tackles the question of how to prepare teachers to support the growing social and emotional needs of students. Chris talks with Steven Cates, an interventionist at Southside Community School in Tucson, Arizona, and a participant in Thrive Alliance Group’s Coaching, Training, and Certification program. Chris and Steven discuss a new approach to mental wellne...

Mark as Played
This episode of Conversations About Student Mental Health explores the mindset shift that is necessary to create a culture and climate of mental health and wellness in your school. Making this shift is one of three critical facets of maximizing the mental health and wellness of students. 

Chris Leonard talks with Dr. Ricki Gibbs, Principal of Warner Arts Magnet Elementary in Nashville, who has assumed stewa...
  • Mark as Played

    It’s no secret that the mental health needs of youth have been intensifying. Getting young people the treatment they need in a crisis has become a greater challenge because of the length of time they must spend in the emergency room (often more than 12 hours) waiting for risk assessments and acute follow up care.

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with Shana Palmieri, the co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of XFERALL, an innova...

    Mark as Played
    January 12, 2022 30 mins

    As the COVID pandemic rages on, students are facing significant challenges, including:

    • Overcoming learning loss
    • Dramatic increases in mental health issues among children and teens (leading to rising rates of emergency department visits and suicide attempts)
    • Increased gun violence against children and school shootings
    • Prolonged social isolation
    • Increases in behavioral issues in the classroom and beyond.

    In this episode, Chris Leo...

    Mark as Played

    In the past 18 months, many students experienced gaps in academic, social, and emotional development. Parents are worried about what their children have missed and how their school will ensure stability and readiness for what comes next. Needless to say, the current situation can be a recipe for tension between parents and educators. So how do we foster positive working relationships between educators and parents? Chris Leonard tal...

    Mark as Played

    In this episode, Chris Leonard shares advice for parents to help their school-refusing child get back to school. Chris and his guest also touch on how schools can partner with parents to form a team to help a student get back on track.

    This time, Chris gets interviewed by his guest, Jayne Demsky. Jayne is a parent who once faced her own son’s school avoidance and became an advocate for families dealing with this challenging issue. S...

    Mark as Played

    After more than a year of hybrid and remote learning, students have experienced a new normal of staying home. School professionals are concerned that a wave of school refusal will hit us this fall. How can we prepare?

    In this episode, Chris talks about strategies for school refusal intervention with Dr. Paul Barbato, Director of Special Services in Dumont, NJ Public Schools. Dr. Barbato is also an Adjunct Professor at three NJ colle...

    Mark as Played

    As we return to full-time, in-person learning, educators expect even more students to struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that interfere with their ability to learn and succeed in school. It's clear that there is a mental health gap that we urgently need to close in order to address the academic gap from lost learning during the pandemic, and ultimately to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our st...

    Mark as Played

    Dealing with race, equality, and bias is a problem that continues to confound Americans, in large part because we are not even comfortable talking about it. Yet our children and teens are watching events unfold in the world and they have questions, real questions. As educators, we need to support thoughtful dialogue. So how do we talk to our students and to each other in ways that are constructive and productive?

    In this episode, Ch...

    Mark as Played

    We've all seen the national news reports declaring this spring's remote learning a disaster. Students and parents were worried about not feeling engaged, lacking socialization, and being just plain bored. Although schools are trying to create safe in-person learning, most will start the year in a hybrid mix of in-person and remote learning.

    In this episode, Chris talks with Dr. Nancy Sulla, author of five books on creating...

    Mark as Played
    May 27, 2020 47 mins

    The COVID-19 outbreak has brought grief to the forefront, because nearly all of us are grieving right now. Many of us have loved ones who have died. Others have lost jobs, missed out on graduation ceremonies, or lost the daily social interaction that sustains us. What we've all experienced is the undeniable feeling that the future is uncertain. And that we really can't know when, or if, things will feel normal again. Life...

    Mark as Played
    April 15, 2020 34 mins

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks about how to understand and manage the anxiety many of us have been struggling with during the pandemic crisis. His guest is John Reilly, a clinical social worker and certified psychoanalyst with 30 years of experience working with adolescents and adults.

    Highlights include:

    • Where anxiety comes from and the helpful purpose it can serve.
    • How to lessen the physical symptoms that can come from rep...
    Mark as Played

    In this episode, Chris Leonard answers questions about what schools can do to encourage healthy social media usage by their students, and prevent the problems that arise from harmful behavior on social media. 

    The questions were submitted by school administrators, counselors, and teachers during our recent webinar: “Untangling the Web: How Social Media Affects Mental Health and How to Help.”

    Highlights include:

    • How to address conc...
    Mark as Played
    February 17, 2020 37 mins

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with two experienced special ed teachers about how teachers can support the growing number of students with mental illness... and how school districts must support teachers. Jessica LaForgia and RJ Laxamana share interventions that teachers and school staff can use to help students succeed and ensure a more productive school day for everyone.

    Highlights include:

    • Signs of mental healt...
    Mark as Played

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with Pat Hovey, a leader and innovator among NJ Directors of Special Services. Pat has worked to implement and fund successful programs for students with mental health problems in several New Jersey school districts, as well as serving as an advisor to numerous other districts. Chris and Pat discuss the process of obtaining funding for student mental health support, as well as funding sources.


    Mark as Played

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with Dr. Mary Rose Scalo, a former Director of Special Services in Wayne and in Parsippany. Chris and Mary Rose discuss strategies for dealing with the heightened stress experienced by students, families, and staff during the holiday season and when transitioning back to school after the break. 

    Highlights include:

    • How to identify struggling students who may be falling through the cracks
    • Tips f...
    Mark as Played

    In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with Linda McGovern, a mental health clinician embedded full time in the Randolph, New Jersey public school district. Linda has worked effectively with many students struggling with school avoidance, and offers advice and specific strategies that schools can use to transition these students back to school. 

    Highlights include:

    • How to build a support team (and who should be on it).
    • Why a discipl...
    Mark as Played

    Popular Podcasts

      Current and classic episodes, featuring compelling true-crime mysteries, powerful documentaries and in-depth investigations.

      Stuff You Should Know

      If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

      The Nikki Glaser Podcast

      Every week comedian and infamous roaster Nikki Glaser provides a fun, fast-paced, and brutally honest look into current pop-culture and her own personal life.

      White Devil

      Shootings are not unusual in Belize. Shootings of cops are. When a wealthy woman – part of one of the most powerful families in Belize – is found on a pier late at night, next to a body, it becomes the country’s biggest news story in a generation. New episodes every Monday!

      Start Here

      A straightforward look at the day's top news in 20 minutes. Powered by ABC News. Hosted by Brad Mielke.

    Advertise With Us
    Music, radio and podcasts, all free. Listen online or download the iHeart App.


    © 2024 iHeartMedia, Inc.