School & Community News

Panel discusses “How We Heal” film
May 31, 2024

Healthy NewsWorks was honored to screen its award-winning film “How We Heal” as part of a community workshop about children’s social, emotional, and developmental health needs sponsored by Children First. 

The May 23 workshop at Montgomery County Intermediate Unit in Norristown began with the 22-minute film, which features interviews by Healthy NewsWorks student journalists with therapists, educators, scientists, artists, athletes, and others. 

After the screening, a panel of families, children, and educators spoke of challenges related to mental health that they had experienced in schools and ways that the reliability and success of the state’s mental health system could be improved. 

“Listening to our children is so important, and hearing their words as valid has been a big one,” one mother said when asked what had been most helpful. 

“When adults see that you’re having issues and they’re offering help, it makes it so much easier to be open,” said a student.

“The kids were just amazing,” said film director Rodney Whittenberg, who moderated the panel. “They live with their challenges every day, and they’re very brave to be able to talk about it and help the rest of us understand it as something normal for many people.” 

Children First, formerly known as Public Citizens for Children and Youth, is a Philadelphia-based nonprofit organization that works to promote the healthy growth and development of children. 

Kate Fox, Children First’s behavioral health policy coordinator, said the workshop was in line with the organization’s goals to create a healing and inclusive environment for children and their mental wellness. 

“We know that with strong collaboration and advocacy across the mental health system, education system, parents, and families, we can build a reliable, accessible mental health system that meets kids where they’re at, provides high quality and culturally relevant services, and decreases the need for high-end mental health options,” she told attendees. 

Learn more about “How We Heal.” 

Learn more about Children First.

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.