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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Fountain Hills Cares to Present Program How Social Media Affects Mental Health

Lack of sleep, fear of missing out, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. These are just a few of the symptoms many users of social media platforms are experiencing. And no wonder, according to the Pew Research Center, 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media, putting a large population at an increased risk of feeling anxious, depressed, or ill from social media use.

 Fountain Hills Cares is a Town of Fountain Hills community series that sheds light on important issues, and next week, will be discussing how social media platforms affect youth and how parents can be involved in the topic with their children. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. on April 20 in the Community Center located at 13001 N. La Montana Drive.

 Presenters include Katey McPherson, Shelly Mowery and Christina Coleman. McPherson is the Director of Professional Development for Bark for Schools, an artificial intelligence app that protects over five million children using personal and school-issued devices. McPherson has a vested interest in youth mental health and led the ONE GILBERT suicide prevention initiative under Mayor Jenn Daniels of Gilbert, Ariz., and was a member of the Teen Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee under the leadership of Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers.


Illustration: Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Shelly Mowery left AZFamily Channel 3, where she was the executive producer for evening newscasts, to join Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to create another essential program, Drug-Free Arizona, a substance abuse prevention and education organization. Over the past 12 years, Mowery has developed prevention programs, media campaigns, and professional development training that has been instrumental in reducing youth drug use in Arizona.

 Christina Coleman is an Arizona State University professor whose work focuses on using mindfulness as an intervention for mental health. Her expertise is also in youth and mental health.

 Fountain Hills Cares is a free community event. Community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Scottsdale, Not My Kid, Maricopa County Public Health, Salt River Schools, Fountain Hills Coalition on Drugs, and others, will be on-site to provide resources and answer questions. Specialists in mental health will present important information and answer questions. Those planning on attending this free event are encouraged to RSVP at www.fountainhillsaz.gov/Fountain-Hills-Cares

 In addition, the Fountain Hills Coalition is sponsoring a $500 cash prize raffle open to all attendees who must be present to win.

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