Addressing the significant increase in anxiety amongst both children and adults, OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services is partnering with HALB to pilot a prevention program for middle school students.

Five Towns, NY, September 28, 2018 — Middle school is a time when many students are vulnerable to developing anxiety.

This school-based campaign is part of OHEL’s comprehensive and on-going efforts to address the greater prevalence of anxiety amongst everyday people, the consequence of many factors including multiple stresses – financial, familial, academic, job-related, technological and other demands of everyday living.

OHEL’s School Based Program promotes wellness and teaches social and emotional skills, to help counter the development of anxiety symptoms in middle school students. This multi-tiered intervention program has been developed by OHEL’s School Based Services team. Under the leadership of Rabbi Meir Mark the program has been piloted with HALB School in the Five Towns.

Rabbi Adam Englander, Head of School at HALB comments that “HALB is so pleased and honored to be at the forefront of dealing with anxiety in the school setting by partnering with OHEL on this important educational initiative. Many educators feel that this is the issue of our day and dealing with it properly is crucial for the healthy development of children.”

The program includes a number of components, ensuring that students and those who are instrumental in caring for them – parents and teachers – receive education and skills to work collaboratively for their benefit. HALB teachers have a rich professional development curriculum that is enhanced by the presence of OHEL’s Dr. Norman Blumenthal. Dr. Blumenthal provided training at the HALB teacher orientation and will also participate in regular lunch n’ learn sessions with HALB teachers during their collaborative planning times.

OHEL has developed a curriculum to be taught to 6th grade students covering topics such as academic pressure, social and emotional development, technology, physical changes, and transition to Jewish adulthood. The students will learn practical skills including mindfulness, the mind/body connection, relaxation techniques, self-talk and identifying strengths – all with a focus on resilience.

OHEL professionals will provide counseling to augment the student workshops and provide additional support to students as needed.

In addition, OHEL’s Dr. Norman Blumenthal will present at a “Parent Education” program in October, highlighting parents’ roles in promoting their children’s mental health and well-being.

According to Tzivy Reiter, OHEL’s Director of Children’s Services, “We are thrilled to have such a worthy partner in HALB. Their staff has invested a great amount of time and planning on this program, to help their students develop skills to succeed not only in middle school, but throughout their lives.”

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