Group of people
The UCI and IUSD experts from left: Dr. Rimal Bera, Marcelle Hayashida, Dr. Paramjit Joshi, Tammy Blakely, Cassie Parham, Dr. Sunny Shen and Katie McEwen. (Photo by: Amanda Walsh)

The University of California, Irvine recently hosted the “Mental Health Resources for Parents” panel discussion featuring campus and Irvine Unified School District experts to provide insights for parents into how to support their children’s mental health. Growing up is a difficult process and helping kids smoothly navigate the many changes they encounter is always challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic and social media have ushered in new stressors, causing an alarming uptick in child-adolescent anxiety and depression, stretching already thin resources to the breaking point, and presenting problems not encountered by earlier generations.

More than 250 parents tuned into the May 1 virtual event as Dr. Rimal Bera and Dr. Paramjit Joshi, professors of psychiatry & human behavior in the UCI School of Medicine; Marcelle Hayashida, UCI associate vice chancellor of health & wellness, health & counseling services; Tammy Blakely, IUSD executive director of student support services; and Dr. Sunny Shen, IUSD director of prevention & intervention, discussed issues ranging from cyberbullying and behavioral changes to mood swings and signs of distress. They emphasized the importance of parents talking to their children, offered strategies on how to reach out to them, and advice on how and when to ask for help.

The forum opened with remarks from Cassie Parham, IUSD assistant superintendent of education services, and closed with remarks from Katie McEwen, member of the IUSD board of education.

Parents were also encouraged to take advantage of the available community resources and services, including:

View the recording of the forum.