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Lesson Plan May 9, 2023

Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention: Listening Guide for Educators



About the Podcast:

Conversations with Sydney is a solutions-oriented podcast series exploring effective ways for parents, teens, teachers, and communities to respond to the crisis of teen mental health and suicide. Each episode is hosted by non-binary teenager, musician, and artist Sydney, alongside their father, filmmaker and journalist Micah Fink. They discuss their personal experiences opening up conversations about mental health at home, and also interview teens, researchers, and leading mental health experts to explore important questions, including:

  • How can parents begin to talk about mental health and suicide with their kids?
  • What do we know about the signs of suicide, and how can it be prevented?
  • What is self-injury and how can parents help their kids find healthier ways to cope with their feelings?
  • What role can schools and teachers play in addressing this national crisis?
  • What role can teens play when their friends talk about suicide?

Sydney and Micah hope that these intimate and open-ended conversations will engage everyone who has a stake in helping young people lead healthy, happier lives—and encourage them to discuss these issues within their own families, schools, and communities.

Conversations with Sydney is distributed by WBGO Studios, the podcasting arm of WBGO, the Public Radio Station in Newark, New Jersey. The production is supported by the Pulitzer Center and the Rosalynn Carter Fellowship for Mental Health Journalism and Media.

The podcast is now available on WBGO, Apple podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music.

How to Use This Guide:

This listening guide is designed to support you in undertaking reflection work that provides the essential basis for opening up conversations about mental health at home, in the classroom, in your school community, or wherever you work closely with youth.

The listening guides for each of the four episodes of Conversations with Sydney offer questions to consider before listening; themes, key quotes, and reflection questions for time-stamped sections; and questions to reflect on after listening. Some of the reflection questions will prompt you to complete a short activity, such as a journaling exercise or research into mental health resources.

We hope this podcast and accompanying listening guide offer concrete tips and reflection opportunities that help you feel more equipped to open up dialogues related to teen mental health in your communities, and to identify and respond to the signs of mental health crises young people in your life might experience. However, we expect that you have many questions on this complex issue that won’t be answered here, and that more questions will arise as you engage with this listening guide.

Please use these resources as a starting point to continue your inquiry into mental health, and the resources available to you and to young people on a local level. You can also share your questions, additional resources, and feedback on this guide by clicking here.

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Children and Youth


Children and Youth

Children and Youth