I was a social awkward youth, inexperienced in the ways of the world during my teen years which made high school a challenge. At the time, I didn’t realize how difficult it was for so many of my friends as well, but recently many of my old classmates have reconnected via Facebook and with a few more decades behind us, we’re speaking more openly and honestly about the trials of our teen years.
Facebook can be a tool to help people communicate better. However, can also make communications more difficult at times and this can be particularly problematic for teens.
Last week, City of Middletown helped organize its annual Teen Life Conference. Organized by the city’s Community Health Educator, Louis Carta, it involved students from four area high schools and guest speakers on a wide range of topics. Members of the Community Health Center’s School Based Health Centers spoke with teens about issues of sexuality, including pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. They played a simple game with M&Ms to help communicate some of the ideas.
Next door, members of CHC’s Behavioral Health Team addressed issues of communication. This session also included M&Ms, but this time as part of a mindfulness exercise.
The discussion provided useful information about how ideas are communicated, and sometimes miscommunicated. Participants spoke of times they misunderstood what their parents were saying via text messages, or vice versa. A lot of the ideas were important to anyone looking to communicate more effectively and probably would have made my teenage years much easier.
Other topics at the Teen Life Conference included nutrition and body art.
This yearly conference, along with a similar conference for middle schoolers provides a great example of how CHC, together with the town, and other organizations can work together to help build healthier communities.