• Mental Health in Schools Conference Breakout Sessions


    Day one


    Alex Bustillos
    The Darkside of Social Media

    The internet and social media are very helpful tools but could be dangerous if not used properly. This presentation will deal with the dark side of social media and the internet to include sexting and cyber-bullying, Parents will receive links and handouts with great information, which will be accessible through the conference app.


    Nancy Torres
    Mental Health for All

    Participants will learn strategies to help students identify triggers and worries that they can control. Participants will acquire coping skills to reduce anger, stress, anxiety, or any other yucky feelings. Craft a toolbox full of positive distractions that help students feel better. Learn how to incorporate mental health strategies into your school framework.  These strategies can help you personally as well!


    Wes Temple & Daniely Gutierrez
    De-Escalation & Crisis Management

    This session focuses on connecting with youth and reasoning with them in a shared decision-making process while engaging them to consider positive behavioral changes. The actions necessary to de-escalate a rising crisis run counter to the fight or flight instincts we must respond to stressful or threatening situations. Therefore, it is especially important to draw from a well thought out, practiced skill set. The overall goals of crisis management are to ensure the immediate safety for all involved, deescalate the situation, assess for harm to self or others, refer to appropriate resources, and debrief with colleagues.


    Dr. Marcelo Rodriguez
    Forensic Psychiatry

    Key Forensic Psychiatry Concepts in the Community Center Context


    Elizabeth Cervantes, Adriana Torres & Priscilla Roberts 
    The 7 C’s of Resilience

    As part of the Reaching Teens initiative, this presentation will focus on 7 areas where one can build resiliency among teens. Presentation will be tailored to teens, parents and other natural helpers in a youth's life.


    Kathy Revtyak & Angie Barraza
    Helping Adolescents Own Their Solutions

    Published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Reaching Teens toolkit edited by Dr. Ken Ginsburg, MD, has been embraced by youth-serving entities and a trauma-informed learning collaborative throughout our region.  This session, based on Chapter 28 of the manual, will engage attendees in content and application of key solution-focused strategies that empower youth through effective communication and collaboration.  Tools such as choreographed conversations, decision trees, and role-playing will be shared and practiced in this workshop. 


    Bonnie Atilano, Gabriel Nevarez, & Tracy Alvarez
    Addressing Emotional Escalation: An Educator’s Approach to Providing Effective Behavioral Strategies

    The purpose of this session is to assist professionals in providing tools to better understand and identify the characteristics of anxiety. By utilizing the appropriate skills, the participants will maintain an appropriate and supportive approach to students, use de-escalation tools to minimize crisis level, possess the ability to identify and support students with internalized anxiety, and understand the importance of our role in decision-making, treatment options and the importance of intervening early and appropriately.


    Martha Torres-Garcia
    The Power in Building Positive Relationships & Positive Culture

    There is tremendous power in building relationships with our students as well as with each other.  Relationship Skills is one of the 5 Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Competencies.  We must build relationships that will help us to reach the whole child.  I will be sharing ideas on how to build relationships with students, educators, and other stakeholders to create a positive school culture.


    Olivia Narvaez, Flor Rosales, & Daniel Chavez
    Group Dynamics and Conflict

    In this session, you will journey through Tuckman's Stages of Group Development via group activities and discussion. You will also have the opportunity to explore your personal conflict style and its impact on group dynamics through the lens of social-emotional competencies.


    Michelle Belli
    Creative Solution Building: Solution-Focused Counseling

    Have you ever wondered how to apply a counseling theory into practice?  This session will explore Solution-Focused Counseling and how it can be applied in a school setting.  Participants will walk away with a foundation in Solution-Focused Counseling and tools to utilize in daily practice.


    Dr. Hector Morales
    Helping the Student Suffering from Depression & Anxiety

    Wanting or meaning to help are different than helping. This short presentation will provide you with the information to help students who appear depressed and anxious while in school.


    Dr. Hector Morales
    Can We Talk?

    Understanding students with mental health issues requires more than talking to students, listening effectively can make all the difference. Learn the skills to help.


    Steven Bond & Daniel Reyes
    Severe Mental Health Symptomology

    Presentation to cover mental health phenomena and symptomology indicating potential severe mental illness.


    Edricardo Gandara
    Anxiety Management

    Anxiety is a normal human experience.  We all experience anxiety from time to time. Unlike stress that comes and goes with external factors, anxiety is something that can be on-going and long lasting.  It can often appear to come out of nowhere and may leave you feeling confused when feelings of anxiety remain with you long after a stressful event has passed.  Our 1-hour face to face module addresses individuals experience with anxiety and covers many aspects of in-depth.  The course includes psycho-education, videos, useful exercises, handouts, tools and techniques to address anxiety and help participants to manage and decrease anxiety levels. The module is solution focused and is aimed at people who are committed to moving their lives forward.


    Luis Chavarria
    Stress Management

    This 1- hour face to face module is designed to increase ability of participants to cope with stress.  Stress has a detrimental effect on our performance, it makes us behave inappropriately. To cope well at work, school, or at home, we need the skills to learn how to respond well to these difficult situations. Through the trainer’s expertise and practical knowledge, you will be able to define the key concepts associated with stress management. The trainer uses up-to-date training techniques and a variety of training methods to give all participants the best opportunities for learning, including class session, group discussions simulations exercises, case studies, and problem-solving exercises.


    Vanessa Carbajal
    Meditation & Breathwork

    In this session, Ms. Carbajal will present information regarding the research in the areas of education and neuroscience that promotes breathing exercises and meditation for well-being, stress management, and positive academic skills. Ms. Carbajal will present and rehearse effective and simple forms of meditation and breathing exercises that are beneficial to reduce teacher burnout as well as prepare students for learning





    Layne Pethick
    The Developing Brain and What All Adults Should Know

    One of the most basic of human needs is to be understood. Lack of understanding and/or following “standard practices” with children who are struggling can have negative effects. All too often, there is an over-reliance on programs to tell us what to do “to” our children. We must be better at learning how to understand our children’s brains so we can discover what to do “for” them.
    This session is designed to help people think and problem solve differently to promote deeper understanding for individual children and brain development. There will be discussions and activities to broaden knowledge on the neurological factors that can affect learning and behavior (such as stress, attention, trauma, and emotional regulation) throughout all areas of life.


    Stephanie Mathis
    "Making Your Campus Justice League Ready"- Mental Health in Schools: A Silent Epidemic Mental Health First Aid Training for Administrators & Staff

    The purpose of this presentation, “Making Your Campus Justice League Ready”—Mental Health in Schools: A Silent Epidemic, Mental Health Training for Administrators and Staff is to provide administrators and their staff with training on supporting all of our youth that experience mental health difficulties in schools and their families. A training that will look at some of the more common mental health disorders, how it may impact students at school, and in general how mental health effects the daily lives of students, their families, as well as the staff that work with them. In addition, providing information on how to develop Mental Health Crisis Teams for your schools.


    Liz Barajas-Gonzalez
    Increasing Student Relationships with a Restorative Twist!

    Do you want to build a student centered environment? Join us as we navigate multiple strategies to build effective classrooms using a restorative approach. Learn how to infuse restorative practices throughout the academic day! We will model how easy this approach can be. Let's create student centered environments!


    Liz Barajas-Gonzalez
    Collaborative Problem Solving: A new approach to Crisis Prevention

    Are you tired of dealing with the same student problem? Are you ready to intervene in a way that will deter negative student behavior? Join us in this interactive session as we navigate a simple 3-step behavioral strategy for crisis prevention. Learn new effective techniques to address student behavior and increase social competence.


    Dr. Jen Osborne
    Adversity and Trauma, and How They Can Lead to Resiliency

    Childhood adversity is the leading cause of health and social problems in our nation, according to Dr. Robert Anda of the CDC. But there is hope, because he also says, “What is predictable is preventable.” Increasing our awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences and trauma can help us learn more about how to provide the kinds of educational experiences that can lower our students’ risks of problems later in life. This session reviews the findings from the landmark ACE study and explores how educators can build on the resilience of their students who might be struggling from the effects of difficult life experience or community tragedies.


    Dr. Jen Osborne
    Caring for Students by Caring for Ourselves

    We educators invest so much of ourselves in the lives of our students that we sometimes forget that we need to care for ourselves in order to provide the high-quality experiences and growth that our students deserve. And ignoring educators’ natural and necessary need for self-care can lead to bad outcomes: cyclical stress, illness, dissatisfaction with the job, and burnout. This session offers an alternative framework for the importance of educator self-care as well as simple steps and strategies that support the habits of positive, nurturing, and effective self-care.


    Joey Mazzuca
    Supporting LGBTQ+ Students - Best Practices for Teachers

    Learn the current terminology for the LGBTQ+ community, understand the difference between sex and gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, and learn best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ students in the classroom.


    Brenda Risch
    Best Practices for School Counselors Working with LGBTQ+ Students

    Learn best practices for supporting LGBTQ+ students as a school counselor; become familiar with local and national resources for students and for additional training.


    Laura Rizo
    Helping Youth Find the Person Inside Them: Save One Life at a Time 

    With the immense power that social media has on our youth, WORDS have become the factor that BREAKS them down or BUILDS them up. We can help youth find the person inside them that will realize that WORDS are just WORDS. We can EMPOWER them to have the self-confidence they need to save their own life. 


    Joy Petty
    The importance of mind body connection  

    Rio Vista focuses on CBT for primary treatment, but the importance of mindfulness is also a focus to our holistic approach to treatment.


    Julie Priego & Priscilla Cortez
    Healer, Heal Thyself: Selfcare for the Caregiver

    This presentation is about managing the distress experienced when caring for others and exploring wellness strategies.


    Antonio Martinez & Alex Flores
    Help! I am raising a teen: drugs and other things.

    This session will discuss the effects of drugs on students and what signs to look for in youth users. The facilitator will also discuss skills on how to talk with children early about the dangers of substance use. Following the presentation, attendees will have an idea of how to identify youth at-risk for substance misuse, how to talk with the child, and how to refer to individuals for services.


    Dr. Cecilia Fierro & Mei Ling Lin, PhD, OTR
    Creating A Mindful Classroom

    Understanding mental health and wellbeing in children is critical not only for their academic success, but for life success. Occupational Therapy is key in providing services that help all individuals develop and maintain positive mental health in order to live full and productive lives. This presentation is focused on using evidence-based mindfulness techniques to help children, teachers, and counselors incorporate these techniques into the classroom to help reduce behaviors associated with stress, anxiety, and attention difficulties.