“You’re just looking for attention.”
“It’s a family matter.”
What parent of a teen hasn’t said something along these lines? When parenting a young person, it often seems like the best option to just ignore the drama until it passes. But research by Narketta Sparkman-Key, associate professor of Counseling & Human Services in the Darden College of Education, shows that with education, parents are able to better distinguish the signs of a real call for help.
Key will discuss this research and education during her upcoming Science Pub on February 20 titled “Suffering in Silence: Mental Health Awareness for Parents in Urban Communities.”
“There is a growing number of youth dying by suicide in the black community and a lack of resources,” Key said. “I believe my work is important in bridging the gap between resources, education and stigma.”
Parents should be given the same information as professionals working with students, such as teachers or counselors, Key said. In her native Detroit, she worked with sex workers, drug users, homeless individuals, and at-risk youth, making her acutely aware of the barriers and stigmas associated with those populations, and the added stigmas associated with mental health.
Although the talk focuses on parents, the entire community is invited to hear about the warning signs that may apply to a friend, family member, or any young person in the community.
“These children are really crying for help,” Key said. “Intervention is important in saving the lives of these children. They are not acting out.”
“Suffering in Silence” is scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 20 at Coelacanth Brewing Company, 760A W. 22nd St., Norfolk. Networking begins at 6 p.m., and trivia and the talk begin at 6:30. The first 20 to arrive receive a free beverage ticket. RSVPs are encouraged by Feb. 18 at http://bit.ly/SciPubsODU
On March 21, graduate students from across the university will give five-minute “Lightning Talks” on their research at O’Connor Brewing Company in Norfolk, followed by a question-and-answer session. On April 23, Jennifer Fish, professor and chair of the Women’s Studies department, will discuss her research at Bearded Bird Brewing in Norfolk.