Ringing the Bell: Alerting Parents to Mood Disorders and Substance Use
It is important that parents and caretakers are aware of substance (drug) use and mood disorders—signs and symptoms. Many would not seek information on their own, believing the “not my child” adage, so it becomes necessary for schools to provide the information in order to help students. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) provides a wealth of resources for such outreach efforts. As a future health psychology professional, you might be involved in consulting on school programs. For this Assignment, consider the following:
- What would be the most appropriate content (and tone) to convey the importance of this matter to parents or caretakers?
- How might you share important information and resources, in the most appropriate manner, with this audience?
Submit by Day 7 a letter or flyer (MS Word or PDF) that a school psychologist may send to parents or caretakers of elementary- to high-school-aged children illustrating warning signs for mood disorders and substance abuse, including alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs of abuse. For example, topics can include: the sharing of prescription drugs (i.e., ADD/ADHD medications), illegal drugs (i.e., marijuana, ecstasy, etc.), behavior changes, what types of questions to ask, and others.
The content and tone of your communication needs to be for a lay audience. It should be neutral and non-alarmist in tone, to ensure it does not unduly upset or panic the parents, but informs and educates on the risks of drugs of abuse on the developing brain. End the letter or flyer with suggestions for resources, such as school personnel and programs, community services, literature, and other appropriate sources.
Note: You may want to relate the information to your local community population and local resources.
- Advokat, C. D., & Comaty, J. E., & Julien, R. M. (2019). Julien’s primer of drug action: A comprehensive guide to the actions, uses, and side effects of psychoactive drugs (14th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers/Macmillan.
- Chapter 15, “Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology” (pp. 573-609
- Chapter 16, “Geriatric Psychopharmacology” (pp. 628-657)
- International Center for Alcohol Policies. (2013). Module 23: Alcohol and the elderly. In ICAP blue book: Practical guides for alcohol policy and prevention approaches. Retrieved from http://www.icap.org/PolicyTools/ICAPBlueBook/BlueBookModules/23AlcoholandtheElderly/tabid/181/Default.aspx
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2012, December). Drug facts: High school and youth trends. Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/high-school-youth-trends
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (2013, March). Which groups have special needs when taking psychiatric medications?Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications/which-groups-have-special-needs-when-taking-psychiatric-medications.shtml
- Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child (Producer). (n.d.). Serve & return interaction shapes brain circuitry [Part 2]. Three core concepts in early development [Video file]. Retrieved from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/multimedia/videos/three_core_concepts/serve_and_return
- Laureate Education (Producer). (2013). Saving lives at Maryvale [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu. (PSYC 8741/PSYC 8741P)