Merely Surviving: Back-to-School Pressures and How to Help

with Tami Silverman, CEO at Indiana Youth Institute

Indiana Health

Are your kids merely surviving? Today’s fast paced world is littered with peer pressure, family dysfunction, and platforms that promote perfection and enhance insecurity. What can be done to offset these toxic situations and environments that children are subjected to on a daily basis? CEO at Indiana Youth Institute, Tami Silverman, discusses these pressures and more as she elaborates on the hope that IYI is generating for parents, teens and youth alike.

Interview recoreded on August 23, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part I of I.

Read a partial transcript of the interview here:

Bennett: It’s been several years since the Indiana Youth Institute has been on our program; there have been some changes, including your position as CEO. How is everything going?

Silverman: Wonderfully. It’s such a great organization with a rich history. It was great to walk into that. At the same time, one of the things that was exciting was our board. Since it had been a while since there had been a leadership change. They said this is a great opportunity for us, where do we go next? We’ve completed a new strategic plan and we’re going onto some new initiatives above an beyond what we’ve done in the past. It’s an exciting time.

Bennett: As we talk about the new school year underway. What are some issues that kids are facing?

Silverman: Well there is a whole range of them. One of the ones we’ve been talking about and doing some research on recently is those school start times.

Bennett: So kids are going to school tired?

Silverman: Very tired. We are seeing some school districts taking a look at that research. In fact, a couple of districts this year have shifted their school start times.

Bennett: Should it be the younger kids or the older kids that have that later start time?

Silverman: It’s really the younger kids. It may be counter-intuitive, but in reality when talking with the Pediatric Sleep Specialists at Riley, we find that the little kids have more malleable bed time routines; they can be more easily adjusted. Teens: their bodies are telling them when to go to sleep and as they go through puberty, they go to bed later and sleep in later. So when we have them get up early, we are fitting biology.

Bennett: Now what about stress? I mean we are all stressed but for kids especially is can be challenging.

Silverman: We’re seeing that with our teens especially. There is a whole issue with pressures of poverty and issues of over-scheduled teens. Unfortunately, Indiana ranks 3rd in the country for teens who have contemplated or attempted suicide. It’s very disturbing. That’s why we talk about what can we do.

Bennett: How does Indiana compare to the rest of the states in overall, childhood well-being.

Silverman: Right now we are in the lower to middle of the pack, we are 28th. Indiana can be a great place to grow up but it doesn’t show that way for all kids.

Bennett: What are some things you are going to be looking at specifically.

Silverman: One of the biggest things is talking about that social-emotional component; particularly in education. We had the opportunity over the last year to work with the Lilly Counseling Initiative. We worked with 92 school districts across the state. We heard time and time again, that kids are coming with all of these issues and it’s impeding their ability to learn. We are going to continue to dig deeper with a lot of those schools.