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tv   Beyond the Headlines  ABC  June 10, 2018 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT

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>> now, from abc7, "beyond the headlines" with cheryl jennings. >> i can remember it like it was yesterday. i was being bullied a lot. and the bullying, to me, was extreme. sixth grade was the worst. being beaten up, having black eyes, and fat lips. i maybe had, like, one friend. with bullying, there's such a gray area, because no one's around to see it but other kids. it's like the inside of you is screaming for help, and no one else can hear. >> we want to start by telling you this story has a happy ending. a message of hope for teenagers and families struggling with bullying, depression, or other mental-health challenges. hello. i'm cheryl jennings. and the young woman you just heard from is rachel mosley, a news photographer here at abc7. brave enough to share her own experience as part of our disney-abc "choose kindness" campaign in support of national
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bullying-prevention awareness. disney is the parent company of abc7. and we are proud to join the effort to put a stop to bullying and to encourage teenagers and adults to choose kindness and hope. >> i remember being that young and feeling like... like there has to be something more. [ chuckles ] you know, to be that young and to feel that way, like there has to be something more in life. >> and with the love of her family, friends, and professional help, rachel did find that something more. and our goal in this edition of "beyond the headlines" is to help others find it, too. we're going to share mental-health resources throughout our show. so, let's get started with abc7 morning anchor reggie aqui and some fearless bay area teenagers with an ambitious crusade to erase the stigma of mental illness. >> this is the teen wellness conference in mountain view.
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more than 220 students all choosing to spend their saturday learning about mental health. >> we need to let young people know that there are resources out there and that they are not alone. >> the conference was organized by teens, for teens. >> i came to kind of learn more about myself and what i want to achieve in life and how to care for myself more. >> how to deal with stress, anxiety, like, all sorts of types of mental illness. >> it's important because i really want kids to feel like they are loved. >> students from 80 bay area schools are here for a wide range of workshops on topics that are often hard to talk about. >> there's definitely a stigma attached to mental-health issues. and, also, i would say there's a stigma -- maybe even more of a stigma -- attached to seeking help for mental-health issues. >> 17-year-old nadia ghaffari, of los altos organized the conference. nadia began focusing on teen
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wellness after she helped a suicidal friend find a path to recovery. first, nadia started the teenz talk website to share video messages on tough issues. this conference takes the idea further, creating a safe place for teenagers learning to help themselves and others. >> it's normal to feel anxious or depressed at times, but if it gets to a point where it's really changing the way you live your life, then it's time to get help, and it's okay. >> nadia and her team are getting support from a range of mental-health organizations eager to reach out to young people. >> data has shown that teens in the u.s. are experiencing higher levels of stress than ever before. and about 50% of mental-health disorders emerge by the age of 14, and about 75% emerge by the age of 2 >> sometimes, early intervention is critical, just like with other types of illness. >> and we miss the fact that this is actually a disease.
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it's a brain disease. >> for 17-year-old darrow hornik, a simple text helped turn around her moment of crisis. >> this amazing resource that is available to anybody, anytime, anywhere. >> the crisis text line is free and confidential. you just text the word "bay" to 741741, and a trained counselor texts back. >> because it's texting, it is not as terrifying as opposed to when you were calling in. >> now darrow is volunteering at the wellness conference to spread the word about the text line. this activity is encouraging wellness with a game about healthy relationships. >> it's a huge issues for teens. 1 in 3 adolescents will experience violence in a relationship at some point. >> another group is focusing on the role of media in mental health. some experts are especially concerned about a netflix show called "13 reasons why" that some say makes suicide seem like the only answer. >> liza bennigson is with the children's health council, known as chc.
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>> almost every teen that we talked to was watching the show. chc saw a huge influx of teens coming to get support services as a result of the show. searches for suicide went way up after the show, on google. >> netflix says the show is bringing awareness to sensitive issues. but livermore father john herndon believes it triggered his 15-year-old daughter bella's death by suicide. >> don't let kids watch this alone. the assault on emotions is unmitigatedly hostile. >> he hoped netflix would drop the show. instead, it's shooting a second season -- all the more reason for workshops like these and teenagers willing to help each other. >> individuals like me need to help take actions. and i see a future where there won't be stigma around mental health. >> it is so wonderful to see teens taking charge of their
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mental health through the teen wellness conference. so, congratulations to the young founder and everybody who attended. now, the problems they talk about can be found in every school district. and here to talk about some of those problems and solutions is kevin gogin. he is the director of safety and wellness at the san francisco unified school district. thank you for being here today. >> of course. thank you, cheryl. >> you are the head crisis counselor, so you have seen it all. so, how young does it start? and how do you deal with the victims and the bullies? >> well, san francisco unified believes that the best way to address bullying is through prevention. so, we have solid curriculum, kindergarten all the way through high school, where students can look at issues of social and emotional appropriate expression, learning respect for differences, respect for their classmates, and how to communicate appropriately. the other thing we have in all of our schools is -- we have social workers in all of our k-through-8 schools and we have very robust programming in our high schools, called our high-school wellness programs, where social workers, nurses, community health outreach
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workers, other mental-health specialists are on campus all the time for students to go in and talk about their life issues. >> what kinds of bullying goes on? >> we have data that tells us about 29% of our middle-school students say they've been bullied at least once, and about 14% of our high-school students, at school. so, the kind of bullying might go on as someone commenting on an appearance, a look, the way someone says something. we also know that we have cyberbullying happening, online bullying. and about 14% of our middle-school students say that that's occurred with them, about 12% of our high-school students. >> and some of those stories we heard are pretty scary, you know, because you don't want kids driven so far. >> that's right. and that's why we believe the prevention piece, is we want to have services available so that if a student is in distress, he or she can come in and get the help that he or she needs in the wellness program, talk to someone. we can have a restorative process with the bullier. we want to look at it comprehensively.
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>> but how do you get them in there? because that's got to be the stigma. that's what the kids were talking about. you have a simple way to do it, right? >> we have. we do have a simple way. i think we have very welcoming, youth-friendly rooms where students can walk in. and a student can come in through one door and have access to any number of services. so, stigma has not been quite the issue for us. we are reaching probably about 60% of our high-school students through some form of service through our wellness program. so, if they can come in for a cup of tea and say hello to the community health outreach worker, we know we can get them in later for something more serious. >> and how does somebody become a bully? what makes a bully? >> how does someone become a bully? well, i want to go back to, you know, all of our children have complex issues. they come from a world that is very complicated here in san francisco. and, a lot of times, they think it comes from their own sense of discomfort with whom they are. so they turn it on someone else. so, what we want to do is talk to them and help them understand that there's a consequence to what they say or do to one of
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their classmates. >> and we have about 15 seconds left. what's your advice to parents? >> the advice to parents is -- talk to your children about what you consider appropriate behavior. talk to your children about knowing where they can go for help at school, if they feel that they're being bullied. >> and know what they're doing online? >> and know what they're doing online. >> [ laughs ] >> monitor the online presence, absolutely. >> kevin, thank you so much. >> absolutely. thank you, cheryl. >> and thank you for all you're doing for the school district. >> thanks. >> all right, when we come back, you're going to hear a very frank and open conversation about bullying and teen mental health from a panel moderated by abc7 news anchor kristen sze. she's going to join me in the studio with more on how we can all be part of the effort to help and heal and choose kindness. ♪
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>> sometimes, their peers are the ones they go to first, and, oftentimes, the person with depressed thoughts will say, "i'm going to tell you this, but promise not to tell anyone." and what's really important for
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us, as, you know, counselors, is to let those youth know, "you are not doing this person any favors by not telling an adult." this is your friend's life at risk, and if somebody ever says to you -- or anyone -- "i'm thinking about suicide," you should definitely take that seriously and not doubt it and tell someone and get them help. they might be mad at you or they might hate you, but you might also save their life. >> gina rosales, a chat counselor with the trevor project, was part of a long discussion we held recently at the abc7 studio to explore issues around bullying and teen mental health. and that important round-table discussion is available online right now. so we encourage you to watch it at now, for today's show, we're going to be sharing some more moments from our round-table guests. joining me in the studio right now, abc7 news anchor kristen sze, the host of our special teen-mental-health discussion, and also amanda caparas, a school social worker with the franklin-mckinley school
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district, who took part, as well. and they're here to share their perspectives on the conversations that took place. and thank you both for doing that. i was able to watch a part of it, but kristen, what was it like for you having to navigate through so many stories that were really very troubling and emotional? >> yeah. well, first of all, it's great to see you again, amanda. your insight is invaluable. >> thank you. >> cheryl, thanks for the question. i think the first thing is -- it was a very emotional experience to be a part of the round table. it brought me back to my days training as a sexual-assault hotline counselor, crisis counselor in san mateo county. and, also, it was impressive, to me, just how open everyone on the round table was to talk about a really difficult subject, from someone who lost a friend, a relative, to the social workers, such as amanda, who work with the students going through very challenging issues in their personal lives. they were all very open, and so i was very impressed. and, also, ultimately optimistic, because we are talking about it. we are taking action. we're not saying, "we're gonna
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let that be, and let's not talk about it." so i think there's hope for the future for teens. >> and, amanda, because we're all focusing on wellness now, how tough is it, the kids you've worked with, to talk up, speak up when they have a friend in trouble. >> yeah. i actually agree wholeheartedly with what gina said. and, unfortunately, i do encounter this in my line of work. so, what i really like to emphasize is a systemic approach, using education and preventative programming to really instill this idea that it's okay to speak up and to reach out for help. and when we are able to do that through the preventative programming in schools, to our communities, to our parents, and in the media, then that's how we really make that change. and i've already seen a recent trend, that's really encouraging to me, of our students coming to speak up for themselves and to bring their friends to us. so, that's been really great to see that. and, so, the hope is that that continues, that we continue to have these conversations, that we continue to have days like today and to have those round-table discussions so that
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we can continue to bring awareness and let everyone know that it's okay to reach out for help. >> all right, let's listen to another guest from the round-table discussion. >> she had a very large group of friends, and then, after the sexual assault, which she was passed out during, and the pictures, there was slut-shaming. so, basically, everyone turned against her. and one of her own friends said she basically had no one. and she didn't reach out to an adult. and her friends knew that she was contemplating suicide, but no one told an adult. >> sheila pott's daughter, audrie, died by suicide five years ago. and she is honoring audrie's life by increasing education and awareness about teen mental health and suicide through the audrie pott foundation. and, kristen, as a mom and a journalist, what were your thoughts as you listened to sheila? >> well, first of all, i commend sheila for all that she's done to shed light on the issue. i know it's not easy to share as a fellow mom, i felt very
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empathetic towards her, in that just the thought that your daughter had gone through something so horrible and you didn't know, i think it's a reminder to all parents to really keep that line of communication open with your teen as much as possible. it's not always easy during those years, when they have a tendency to shut down, but you got to try it. and i think the easiest thing to do, in terms of encouraging your teens to be open to you is to be nonjudgmental, because i -- don't you agree, amanda? they kind of shut down. >> how do you counsel the victims and the bullies. >> well, it's really important to first -- my first thing i would say, actually, to someone that has been victimized by these type of circumstances, is that it's not their fault. that's the first thing that i really want to emphasize. the other thing is to really empower them to speak to an adult, talk to your parent, as difficult as it may be. go to your school social worker or your counselor, any trusted adult or teacher that you can find, because, as difficult as it may be, we're all there to
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support you through this. and we are so lucky to live in an area and a community where we have incredible resources, incredible organizations, so making those accessible to them, as well, can really normalize this act of reaching out for help. >> i want to go, very quickly, to a couple of young people who really have taken charge of mental-health issues. so take a listen. >> a lot of time, when we talk about bullying, it's not the bullying you would, like, imagine, where you're on the schoolyard and a kid pushes you. >> beats you up for lunch money. >> exactly. it's not really like that. it's a lot more subtle and passive-aggressive on, like, media platforms, where you can be really embarrassed. and, you know, it's all out there. you can't hide it. everyone knows. and, so, i think that that really is difficult for teens to navigate. and then, you know, you have mental health on top of it, so if you already have a depressive personality or you have a more difficult time handling stress and you don't have the coping mechanisms to deal with that, you might just become so overwhelmed and really not know where to go. >> yeah, i definitely think
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that. especially in high school, you have the pressure of getting good grades and maintaining friendships and relationships, and it just keeps piling up. and a lot of people don't know how to kind of balance out that stress. >> the two young ladies you just listened to lost a friend to suicide earlier this year, and they have channeled their grief into action at their schools. they're working to raise awareness about mental-health issues among their peers. so, amanda, we saw yasmina talk about the subtlety of bullying on social media. i mean, that's tough. >> yeah. it's really tough. the first thing i would tell them to do is report it to the platform that you're using or to your school. and, also, they were so insightful. they really hit the nail on the head. it's really about balance, prioritizing your social-media use with your other priorities and with outlets. i encourage students to always pursue their passions, because not only does that build their self-confidence and their self-esteem, it really improves their protective factors, like, through their coping skills, so that they can mitigate those
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negative impacts. >> almost out of time. kristen, you've got a young girl now who's at that age. >> yeah. so, all these things, all these issues that we're putting at the forefront are very helpful. i was impressed by yasmina and lauren, because they are there, on a daily basis at school, telling their peers that, "we're here for you. we reject the bullying, we reject the meanness, and we support each other." and if kids can take and adopt that view and do something nice for the kid next to them, then that will certainly change their world view so much. >> mm-hmm. >> thank you both for being here and thank you for what you're doing with the round table. it's online for everybody at home. so, now, when we come back, you're going to learn about an international organization that wants to put a smile on your face, as they choose kindness to put a stop to bullying. it's called the cybersmile foundation. >> another thing you can do is talk to somelde a friendif you'e not comfortable going to your parents. you can talk to your parents. you can talk to a teacher. talk to anyone who has power, because they can go and they can
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>> who here has been bullied? okay. a lot of people. it hurts, doesn't it? >> yeah. >> it really hurts. so, i've been bullied a lot. growg , d is weird hair condition where it didn't so i was literally bald until i was about 10. >> pro golfer paige spiranac is talking to kids and the boys & girls club at an event at
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lake tahoe. and she is using her celebrity status to spread an important message about bullying and to teach them a little bit about golf. paige is an ambassador for an international nonprofit called the cybersmile foundation. and here to tell us all about it is laura lewandowski, who came in all the way from chicago to be with us today. thank you so much. >> thank you for having me, couple. >> i love what paige had to say to the kids. >> absolutely. and, so, what is the cybersmile foundation, for people who don't know about it? >> well, as you mentioned, so, it's a global nonprofit really aiming at targeting digital abuse and cyberbullying online, especially on social media. we're seeing an increase in teens, adolescents, and even adults, like myself, who are being bullied across these platforms. so it's really emphasizing messages of positivity and kindness, as we also think about diversity and inclusion online. >> how does it work? so, somebody -- i mean, everything is online these days, on your phone. >> absolutely. so, cybersmile is actually on all social-media outlets, including instagram and twitter.
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one of our latest campaigns is the positive-activist campaign, rslee you can search positive messages. so when people are getting impacted and getting hit with those really hard, negative messages on social media, you have these tidbits of hope. that's actually how i heard about the cybersmile foundation. >> you were being bullied, right? >> i was. actually my latest episode of being cyberbullied was by an anonymous source, which is also on the increase, last week, if you can believe that. and i'm an adult. but, really, cybersmile also helps students who are really dealing with this also at school, 'cause, sometimes, in that age group, it's by their peers. >> so, but how do they deal with that at cybersmile? tell them -- should they fight back or what? >> do not retaliate. we like to say, "don't feed the trolls." really, the best thing you can do, whether you're a student or an adult, is document where you're being harassed, take photos of it, if you're getting screenshots and things like
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that, really making sure that you also speak to an adult or speak to somebody else that you trust about this. >> so, what are some of the other ways that cybersmile -- the foundation can help with school districts? because we've had a couple of district representatives today. >> yeah, our school-partnership program is really growing. and it allows schools, administrators, teachers, parents, and students to have access to resources and events year round that are really focused on identifying bullying behavior, identifying if your student or your child is being bullied or even your peer is being bullied and ways that schools can help play a role in prevention, which is also something that was talked about today. >> do you have people who can tell the kids what to do or where to go? >> we do, actually. on the website, we really focus on a help-center aspect, where it talks about different types of cyberbullying. so there's things like doxing, reputation-management tips, as well. and, also, if you're a gamer, there's also resources on there, as well, because this is big
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among adolescent boys who play there's harassment and bullying taking place over that mechanism, as well. >> we have 10 seconds left. what do you do for partners? i know that it takes a lot of people. >> absolutely. it takes a village to help combat this. so, we work with great groups like brita and steph curry to really help focus and filter out hate. twitter, intel are some great sponsorships of ours, as well, and also claire's accessories. >> all right, good to know. thank you so much. and you can learn more about the cybersmile foundation online. also, you can find the entire 45-minute round-able discussion on teen mental health, as well as a list of resources, stories, and videos shining a light on many opportunities for you to choose kindness. just go to our resource page at choose-kindness. follow us on facebook at abc7news and cherylabc7. follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. thanks so much for joining us and choose kindness every day.
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this is abc 7 news. president trump is calling it a mission of peace, a face to face with north korean leader kim jong-un now just hour away. hello and thanks for joining us. i'm eric thomas. >> i'm dion lim. we begin with that developing news. the foreign policy style faces its toughest test to date. >> he is now in singapore where he will attempt to personally broker an end to kim's nuclear program. nbc news reporter karen travers is in singapore. >> reporter: just hours before the first-ever meeting between a sitting u.s. president and t


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