In January, Dr. Bill Hudenko, a Lyme resident and licensed psychologist and researcher spent an evening with parents discussing mental health and suicide prevention. This past Wednesday, our middle schoolers had the privilege of listening to Dr. Hudenko speak about emotions, depression, what to do if one is feeling suicidal, what to do if a friend confides that they are feeling suicidal, where to seek help, and the role of a therapist.
Dr. Hudenko's natural ability in working with adolescents clearly showed through as he moved through his presentation, talking to our students about how our emotions actually "tell us" what we may need and how depression is linked to genetic predisposition and situations that may cause us to feel stressed and overwhelmed, leading to a depressive state.
He gave a timeline of two weeks being the guideline for seeking help if one is experiencing the symptoms of depression, which include sadness, despair, loss of interest in activities, increase or decrease in appetite, and lack of overall affect.
Dr. Hudenko gently approached the topic of suicide and suicidal ideations. He spoke of how reaching out to include others so they have a sense of belonging can help those feeling helpless and hopeless. Feeling included is one of the main means of helping to relieve symptoms of depression and suicidal ideations. As a therapist, Dr. Hudenko spoke of the role of a therapist in helping those with depression connect with others, find the root of what may be causing the feelings of depression, and "talking" to the part of the mind that wants to live.
As always, reaching out to our community and utilizing the resources we have locally, helps us all know that there are so many people out there who care about us and our well-being. Dr. Hudenko is surely one of those people. We are so grateful for the time he spent with us and the information he shared. We all have a role in taking care of ourselves and others. Kindness and compassion matter and they're free!