From May 15th – May 17th, Prizmah Center for Jewish Days Schools held their virtual Mental Health Summit. The three-day conference for Jewish day school educators and staff had presentations from top experts in fields relevant to the social-emotional mental health of our Jewish day schools. Colleagues from across North America participated in an interactive online gathering where they engaged in high level learning, collaboration, and growth.
Amongst the list of renowned presenters were Dr. Michael Kidorf, Ph.D and Erich Kaufmann, LCPC, two of Chayeinu Baltimore’s education experts. “Chayeinu is very proud to have presented at Prizma’s Mental Health Summit,” said Chayeinu’s director, Esti Ziffer. “By delivering 4 sessions over the course of the conference including three deep dives, Chayeinu had an opportunity to share on a national platform its unique data-driven approach to combating substance use through education and awareness. Tremendous thank you to Dr. Michael Kidorf and Erich Kauffman for devoting so much time to preparing and delivering these impactful sessions.”
Dr. Kidorf, Clinical Psychologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Chayeinu’s Director of Education, gave a deep dive keynote presentation entitled “Teenage Drinking and Mental Health: Evidence-Based Prevention”. The in-depth series spanned three 90-minute sessions to help school administrators and educators understand the link between teenage drinking and mental health concerns, and increase awareness of evidence-based prevention and treatment strategies. Dr. Kidorf explained that about 10 – 15% of teenagers experience a mental health disorder, and many of these disorders co-occur with problem drinking. Over the course of his deep dives, Dr. Kidorf explored the prevalence and consequences of teenage drinking; fundamental principles of substance use prevention that can be implemented in both school and home settings; and current approaches to the treatment of alcohol use disorder in adolescents, and how school faculty can support parents who have children misusing alcohol or drugs.
Mr. Kaufmann provides individual, couples and family therapy to treat anxiety, mood disorders, and addiction, and is an addictions counselor at the Retreat at Sheppard Pratt. His workshop, entitled “Vaping and Mental health: Connecting the Dots”, provided school administrators and educators factual information about the bi-directional relationship between vaping nicotine and mental health. Using scientific literature on the psychological harms of vaping, Mr. Kaufmann demonstrated that vaping often results in nicotine use disorder, an often chronic condition that is strongly associated with mental health concerns. He continued to outline that children with conditions like ADHD and mood and anxiety disorders are at heightened risk to initiate vaping and progress to nicotine use disorder. The workshop provided a strong foundation for developing educational and prevention programs to support children and their parents.
Rachel Dratch, Prizmah’s Director of Educational Innovation, described the Chayeinu sessions as “really well received. The topic is urgent and important. There was so much gratitude from participants that there is a forum to address these topics. Each of the presentations were thoughtful and relevant.”
Chayeinu promotes increased addiction awareness in order to prevent the harmful use of alcohol, drugs, and other addictive behaviors in our community. Within the Baltimore community, Chayeinu does so by providing educational programs and other resources to encourage healthy lifestyles and responsible choices.