In January 2018, three critical issues came to the attention of East Hampton Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez, East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine and School Resource Officer Sergeant Ken Alversa.
They saw the need to increase awareness and understanding of adolescent mental health and substance use issues and behaviors. They saw the need to help young people access treatment. And they saw the need to promote effective prevention strategies and programs.
Together, they formed the East Hampton Adolescent Mental Health & Substance Use Task Force — and one of its major initiatives to address the challenges young people and their families are facing, “Honest Conversations,” recently launched on LTV, co-hosted by Burke-Gonzalez and Fine.
“The objective of each episode is to both inform and facilitate an open dialogue between parents and kids, as well as the community at large, about these important issues,” a press release said.
In each half-hour episode, the co-hosts interview experts in the field about a wide variety of issues, including mental health, anxiety, depression, suicide awareness, underage drinking, electronic smoking devices, drug use, screen addiction, bullying, dating violence, eating disorders, body image, mindfulness, and more.
“We have received numerous requests from parents in our community to create additional resources for them in order to help them with this epidemic,” East Hampton High School Principal Adam Fine said. “It is our hope that these shows can become a resource for parents.”
Each week on LTVEG-Channel 22, a new episode of “Honest Conversations” airs on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Fridays at 5:30 a.m. and 11 p.m., and Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Nine episodes are now available to stream on LTV’s Video on Demand service. They include: “Adolescent Mental Health” and “Meeting the Challenges: Addressing Today’s Adolescent Issues” with psychologist Ralph Naglieri; “Hope, Health & Strength” and “Katy’s Courage” with health teacher Jim Stewart; “Adolescents and the Law” and “Adolescents and Electronic Smoking Devices” with Alversa; “Parenting Adolescents in Today’s World” with HUGS Executive Director Kym Laube; and “A Young Man’s Struggle with Addiction” and “A Young Man’s Road to Recovery” with Shaun Willis, regional director of Outpatient Services Phoenix Houses of LI, and Mo K., a young man in recovery.
Guest Loretta Davis, executive director of The Retreat, will speak on “Offering Hope and Supportive Services” and “Empowering Our Kids to Develop Healthy Relationships” in future episodes.
“Our kids are under a great deal of pressure these days. Too many of them are turning to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain,” Councilwoman Kathee Burke-Gonzalez said. “It is my hope that ‘Honest Conversations’ will help parents understand that they are not alone; in fact, other families are dealing with similar issues.
“It is also my hope that parents will reach out to resources within our community — whether it’s our schools, our physician’s offices or local agencies such as Phoenix House, The Retreat, Family Service League, and HUGS — that are led and staffed by thoughtful, caring professionals who want to help our kids and support our families,” she added.
Should an airing be missed, or should a viewer wish to tune in to a particular topic, all of the episodes can be accessed online via LTV’s Video on Demand feature at honestconversations.ltveh.org.