“It’s Tough Enough”;
Adolescent Mental Health in Our Changing World

When did it happen?:

Sunday June 12, 2022, 9am-4pm

Where was it?:
Evanston Township High School
1600 Dodge Ave
Evanston, IL 60201
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Panel Presentation Info: One of the few things everyone can agree on is that kids aren’t supposed to die. And yet, one out of five high school students reports thoughts of suicide (Ivey-Stephenson et al., 2020). One out of 12,500 high school students dies by suicide (Ivey-Stephenson et al., 2020). If we want a world where youth feel like their lives are worth living, we can’t have a society that says that some lives are worth more than others. Join us for a better understanding of how we move from suicide prevention to building a world that all our youth want to live in.

This presentation also spoke about the procedures that schools have put in place to help students during the pandemic. However, the pandemic has not affected all students equally. This presentation discussed how structural racism intersects with the pandemic and what schools are able to do for students and staff during that time.

Through lived experience, this presentation also discussed intergenerational trauma in immigrant families between cultures, how it affects first-generation, and it carries on to later generations.

Conference Photos

2022 Annual Conference Panelist Information

Keeshawna Brooks

Keeshawna Brooks, PhD, NCSP, LP

Dr. Keeshawna Brooks is an assistant professor and associate department chair of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s School Psychology program. Dr. Brooks is also the owner of Keys To Care Psychological Services, LLC. She is a licensed school and clinical psychologist and earned her PhD in School Psychology from Loyola University Chicago in 2018. She has previously worked as a survey researcher for a federal contractor, as a school psychologist in Washington D.C. public charter schools, and as a private practice psychology associate in Maryland. Her research interests include the intersection of racial identity, ecological systems and academic performance as well as social justice in school psychology. She currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation and previously served as an Illinois School Psychology Association (ISPA) student representative.

Jonathon Singer

Jonathan B. Singer, PhD, LCSW

Dr. Singer is a Professor of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago, Past-President of the American Association of Suicidology, and coauthor of the 2015 Routledge text, Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention, and Postvention. Dr. Singer is a well-regarded international speaker who has given hundreds of continuing education workshops, keynote addresses, and presentations on youth suicide, ethics, technology, adolescent development, and attachment-based family therapy in the USA, Latin America, Asia, and Europe. He is the author of over 75 publications and his research has been featured in national and international media outlets like NPR, BBC, Fox, Time Magazine, and The Guardian. Dr. Singer is a pioneer in the integration of technology and social work and the founder and host of the award-winning Social Work Podcast (www.socialworkpodcast.com), the first podcast by and for social workers. He lives in Evanston, IL with his wife and three children.

Taya Kinzie

Taya Kinzie, EdD, EdS, MSW

Taya Kinzie has served as Associate Principal for Student Services since 2015. She has been employed at Evanston Township High School since 2004, during which time her roles have included Dean and Special Education Social Worker. Dr. Kinzie is also a Spanish/English bilingual Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and has previously served students and families in Chicago, Waukegan, and California Public Schools and social service agencies. Her commitment to social emotional and academic learning, social justice, and equity in education is complemented by her focus on students’ resilience, strengths, needs, and goals for the future. Throughout the country, Dr. Kinzie has provided workshops on topics including social emotional learning (SEL) in the general and special education settings, crisis prevention and intervention, and restorative justice practices in schools. Dr. Kinzie holds an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, an Ed.S. in Educational Leadership from National Louis University, an M.S.W. from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Iowa.

Emily Her Headshot

Emily Her

Emily Her is a management consultant from the University of Chicago’s class of 2021, born and raised in the Bay Area, California. Despite being an “always happy-go-lucky” top student and graduation speaker of her competitive high school, her internal conflicts and trauma brought suicide attempts leading to a psychiatric hospitalization at age 16. Throughout her 21 years, Emily has been diagnosed with various disorders including Depression, Anxiety, Anorexia, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and Borderline personality disorder. Because of these defining experiences and disorders, she hopes that she can give back to the world by sharing a raw vulnerability that shows we are never as alone as we think. Her book, “Everything I Leave Behind for You”, is a reflection on the lessons she has learned through her mental health challenges and healing. Emily is a strong voice for young adults in the conversation about raising mental health awareness in professional workplace and competitive education settings: her story demonstrates that what one shows on the outside may not be what they feel on the inside, and the importance of recognizing and reconciling the complicated voices within all of us.

James Holzhauer-Chuckas

James Holzhauer-Chuckas, ObSB

James Holzhauer-Chuckas, ObSB is an Oblate of the Benedictine Order. James grew up and lives with his partner, Denisse, in Evanston. He went to Gordon Tech High School, and then to John Carroll University and DePaul University, where he studied religious studies and non-profit administration. Since then, he has worked professionally with many organizations including the McGaw YMCA, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, and Kids Playing Camp. James currently serves in the Archdiocese of Chicago as Senior Director of United Catholic Youth Ministries, has earned certification in many areas including LGBTQIA+ advocacy, camp administration, and is a certified diversity practitioner by the Society for Diversity. Most of James’ personal and professional life involves working with young people. Currently, he aspires to earn a Master of Social Work to become a licensed clinical social worker, believing strongly in the relationship between good mental health and youth development as critical in today’s world.