News ID: 198597
Published: 0214 GMT August 14, 2017

Expert discusses mental health awareness for kids returning to school (video)

Expert discusses mental health awareness for kids returning to school (video)

For Ava Reyes, marked her fifth birthday as well as her first day of kindergarten.

Racheal Reyes, Ava’s grandmother, explained, “She knows her numbers. She's excited to learn the alphabet.”

Ava’s grandmother brought her to My Salon Suites to get a free haircut in exchange for a donation of school supplies, according to

The owner of the salon said she knows the powerful boost a blowout can have on a child’s self-esteem.

Amanda Skvorzov, owner of My Salon Suite, said, “They go back to school looking fresh and having that confidence that will maybe push them over that hump of being bullied,” And a little confidence can go a long way.

As many as 21 percent of American students between the ages of 12 and 18 have reportedly been bullied, according to the National Crime Victimization Survey.

Sasha DeCania, Destination Teens Treatment center, said, “I'm seeing more and more, probably in the last eight to 10 years has been through social media.”

 DeCania treats teens for a range of mental health issues, including the side effects of bullying.

She said every child who walks into the Destinations has encountered some form of online bullying. Some children are as young as six.

“Children tend to feel secretive about it, feel shameful about it and it erodes at their self-esteem,” DeCania said.

Before kids head back to school, she recommends parents pay attention to red flags their children may show such as a change in dress, mood, and if they isolate themselves.

“When you start to see shifts like that, you need to ask your kid what's going on,” DeCania said.

Rachel Reyes said she knows communication is key to making sure her granddaughter is safe at school.

“I would be concerned if somebody said anything negative because she is very soft hearted, but she also knows, if anybody says anything to her, she'll go to her teacher,” Reyes said.

As for Skvokzov and 25 other stylists volunteering their time at My Salon Suite, they're proud knowing they've played a part starting kids off on a positive note for the school year.
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