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Conversations About Student Mental Health

Education Podcasts

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.

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.


United States


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.








School Refusal Series Part 1: Re-Integrating and Retaining Students After COVID

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 colleges and holds leadership positions in several key NJ...


Demystifying Mental Health with Coaching for School Staff

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 students. Teachers, administrators, and school counselors must be...


Starting the Conversation About Race, Equality and Bias in Schools

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, Chris talks with LaCoyya Weathington, Assistant...


Nancy Sulla on Engaging Students in a Hybrid Learning Environment

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 student-driven, blended learning environments. Dr. Sulla’s...


Dealing with Grief

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 is never predictable, but we crave certainty, and can feel quite lost...


Coping With Fear & Anxiety

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:


Social Media & Student Mental Health Q&A

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:


The Anxiety Epidemic & Teacher Burnout

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:


Strategies for Funding Student Mental Health Programs

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. Highlights include:


Navigating the Holidays: Supporting Students and Staff

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:


Solving School Avoidance: Strategies for Schools

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:


School Refusal: A Parent's Perspective

In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with a parent of a student who struggled with school avoidance. This is an increasingly common problem faced by students, families, and school districts, and one that’s challenging to overcome. Laura describes her daughter Kelly’s battle with school avoidance and shares the intervention strategies that ultimately helped Kelly get back to school. Highlights include:


A Proactive Approach to Preventing School Tragedies

In this episode, Chris Leonard talks with Robert Ferullo (Principal of Weehawken High School and former Special Education Supervisor) about the proactive steps schools can take to prevent tragedies such as shootings and suicides. This can be a sensitive issue — one that we may prefer not to think about. But school administrators list preventing school tragedies among their top concerns. Highlights include:


What is the School’s Role in Addressing Student Mental Health Issues?

This first episode sets the stage for Conversations About Student Mental Health. Chris Leonard, clinical social worker shares some advice about the role of the school in addressing student mental health. Discussing such topics as: