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Community invited to discuss youth mental health

Staff Writer | June 6, 2022 1:07 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The public is invited to participate in a youth mental health forum from 6 to 8 p.m., June 14 in the Lake City High School Library, 6101 N. Ramsey Road, Coeur d'Alene.

The forum is hosted by Communities for Youth, an Idaho-based nonprofit that is bringing similar discussions to communities throughout the state.

Keith Orchard, mental health coordinator for the Coeur d’Alene School District, said today’s kids are definitely stressed. Kids of all ages regularly visit his office and express worries, he said, about everything from school to family issues to world events.

“When the world isn’t predictable, it’s stressful,” Orchard said. “Basic routines are being changed. There is more anxiety and depression.”

Parents and community members are encouraged to join in the roundtable forum discussion about how to support mental health for students.

The format will be intimate, with small groups at each table with a facilitator who will prompt the conversation with questions.

There is no planned presentation. Rather, the goal is to hear from the community what youth mental health issues most concern them. The feedback gained will be analyzed and outcomes reported back to the community sometime in the fall, Orchard said.

This is the first forum of its kind the school district has been a part of, Orchard said.

Previously, most mental health outreaches involved a speaker, or had limited time allotted to hear from the community.

“I’m excited for this because it’s different,” Orchard said. “This is more personal. We can listen longer and deeper to what parents need.”

The smaller group setting may make people feel more comfortable sharing. The event format gives an opportunity to hear more voices, Orchard said.

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