The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

The Student News Site of Great Neck North High School

Guide Post

Advocating for Youth Mental Health; A Visit from Psychiatrist Dr. Feuer

Active Minds Club and AIDS Awareness Club invited a guest speaker, Dr. Feuer, to speak about mental health and her work as a psychiatrist.

Dr. Vera Feuer, Director of Pediatric Emergency Psychiatry at Northwell Health, visited North High students in the Active Minds Club and AIDS Awareness Club, during which they actively participated in discussions relating to mental health and wellness. Dr. Feuer shared valuable resources and insights on adolescent health, wellness, sleep habits, and their impacts on both physical and mental well-being. 

Dr. Feuer is a child and adolescent psychiatrist who oversees Cohen Children’s emergency psychiatry, urgent care, and school mental health services. She works with school districts and families as the Associate Vice President for the School-Based Mental Health Program with Northwell. Her visit was facilitated with assistance from district administration at Clover Drive, North High School building administration, and North High School’s mental health team. 

The Active Minds Club and AIDS Awareness Club are led by school psychologists Dr. Cheng and Dr. Berzins, respectively. The Active Minds club aims to destigmatize mental health, and support mental health awareness and education for students. They often have conversations about mental health and make presentations during their meetings. 

The Active Minds club poster (Credit: @activeminds.gnnhs Instagram).

“Active Minds is one of the few clubs that I look forward to every week,” said junior Izzy Ku, Vice President of Active Minds, “It’s more than just the presentations, it’s about having a safe community.”

Students from both Active Minds and AIDs awareness asked Dr. Feuer questions about how to break the stigma surrounding mental health, recommendations for sleep habits and balancing life demands, the different roles of a psychologist versus a psychiatrist, and more. 

Dr. Feuer provided insight on these questions and spoke a lot about managing stress. She suggests that no matter how busy you are, you “make time for calm” and dedicate time to letting your brain decompress and process stress. She said, “Even though it may seem counterintuitive, taking breaks can actually help to manage your stress.” 

It may seem like taking a break makes you more stressed out, but it can help you to be more productive, and it can be as little as a five-minute mindfulness or gratitude exercise. 

It is also important to dedicate time to things that bring you joy, and practice self-care. Practice calming activities to help your brain stay in the present can be extremely helpful. 

“I encourage you to explore and find what that activity is for you that allows you to empty your mind,” said Dr. Feuer. 

She also mentioned that to maintain a healthy mental state, students should prioritize movement, sleep, and nutrition, which are crucial for overall well-being. Many teens underestimate how much sleep they need, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is important. Additionally, building strong social connections with friends, family, and trusted adults is essential. 

Dr. Feuer also discussed anxiety management techniques and her personal journey into psychiatry, along with highlighting research and advocacy programs like the Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center Mental Health program available to students.

Furthermore, with the mental health and wellness of teens in mind, Active Minds students recently visited the capitol building in Albany where they advocated for mental health issues related to students in New York State. Senior Layla Malekan, and juniors Talia Elyaho, Isabelle Ku, and Jimmy Li, joined with members of Northwell Health, were briefed on relevant bills under consideration by the state congress.

Talia Elyaho, a Vice President of Active Minds, said, “We spoke to different assembly people about [mental health] bills that we want to be passed in New York State,” she continued, “Everyone was super friendly and it was an amazingly supportive experience!” 

These students are participants in the Cohen Strong Mental Health program at Northwell Health’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center, along with being officers of Active Minds. Students in the program receive support from psychiatrists Vera Feuer MD and Scott Falkowitz DO, both from Northwell Health. The program includes becoming certified in teen Mental Health First Aid (tMHFA) and then continuing in monthly training with staff from Cohen Children Medical Center that will conclude in a research project and presentation in their own community. 

We are the ones who can make change, and it is amazing that students from North High are increasing mental health awareness and making a significant impact. 

Dr. Feuer acknowledged that our voice is always the loudest in these rooms, and we have the power to change our community.

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About the Contributor
Ella Shamash
Ella Shamash, Associate Editor
Ella Shamash is one of Guide Post’s associate editors. She is a passionate runner, and a part of NHS’s cross country and track teams. In addition, she actively participates in many clubs including being an officer for Key Club and entrepreneurship club, and participating in Letters for Rose. She is determined to accomplish anything she sets her mind to and strives for success. When she isn’t focused on school, she loves spending time with friends and family, working on her business, doing ceramics, going to the beach, and of course writing.  

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