Problem solving & Coping

For new parents and grandparents

This is one example of many resources for developing the skills and knowledge to balance the weight of life’s worries through play activities early in the prevention continuum at

For primary and middle grade educators

Boston Children’s Hospital focuses on prevention and earlier treatment with on-demand training available to all. Here is one of several resources in the Training and Access Project (TAP).

Boston Children’s Hospital Break Free From Depression

This depression awareness and prevention curriculum is listed in the national Best Practices Registry; Break Free From Depression is accurate, safe, effective, and practical to implement. Its core modules total 180 minutes of class time and have been completed by over 40,000 grade 8-12 students.

The  curriculum also provides supplementary activities for all youth to better manage stress and solve problems. Exercising these problem solving and coping skills can prevent some cases of anxiety or depression from getting started and youth with symptoms self-refer for earlier treatment. All participants enhance life skills to better balance the weight of life’s worries.

This link is for the ‘on demand’ train-the-trainer by Boston Children’s Hospital; completing the two hour course earns a digital certificate to download all curriculum content, including handouts, the documentary and the outcomes calculator. All the above is free of charge. The hospital contact is Karen Capraro, LICSW,  (617) 919-3220 or

William James College virtual Wellness Center 
Whyville virtual Wellness Center PIP loft

Have you ever wished your son or daughter had better skills to manage emotion? All children can now access a resource through the web to enhance problem solving and coping skills. This novel way of introducing healthy thinking techniques was designed by the Freedman Center  for Child and Family Development at William James  College in partnership with Numedeon, founders of the Whyville collaborative play site.

Youth ages 10 though 14 learn by exploring games activities, tip sheets and thematic chat within its virtual Wellness Center ( Over 25,000 youth have exercised its Wellness Center activities. The Teacher Tutorial may be downloaded by selecting this link. The contact about the virtual Wellness Center is Nadja Reilly, PhD, (617) 922-2797 or

K-5 educator’s textbook: Anxiety and Depression in the Classroom 

In clear language this book provides many practical activities; chapter five addresses in what ways you might keep healthy children healthy. For example, you can introduce problem solving as fun and creative by using this worksheet: PIP Problems-Ideas-Plans. It is a brief exercise based solidly on the research indicating that problem solving is an important coping skill to promote wellness or even as a strategy in treatment for depression (Reference: Cognitive Therapy and Research 2008 Volume 32, Pages 227-245, Efficacy of a Problem-Solving Therapy for Depression and Suicide Potential in Adolescents and Young Adults.)

This link is for the textbook publisher.

An Adolescent Mental Health & Wellness Curriculum

Click image to download

McLean Hospital and Children’s Hospital Boston collaborated in 2005 to eliminate conflicting information on stress, substances and depression. This manual helps any school give youth the knowledge to make better decisions in the area of mental health. (To download the curriculum, click the cover image.)

Chapters 1 & 2 discuss the preparation phase and include school assessment instruments, the resource/referral checklist and the Class Emotional Safety Assessment to determine the appropriate curriculum activity level. Three levels of activities are provided in each curriculum topic:

  • Stress: Causes, Consequences and Management (Chapter 3)
  • Substance Use, Abuse, and Dependence (Chapter 4)
  • Depression in Adolescents (Chapter 5)

How Not To Keep A Secret

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How Not To Keep a Secret is a peer-to-peer interactive model that opens dialog between teens and then connects teens to trusted adults.  In a single day, over 75 peer leaders from 3-5 schools can be brought together for training. (To view the preparation steps that makes this possible, click the cover image.)

This training day helps teen leaders identify the symptoms of depression in themselves and their peers along with understanding how to seek and provide aid.  Following training, students have the skills to pursue peer-to-peer, child-parent, and student-educator interactions without the stigma of acknowledging depression or emotional difficulties for themselves or others. It is a program of the Youth Health Connection at South Shore Hospital.

For clergy – iGROW Interfaith Gathering ‘Round Our Wellness: Peer Mentor Experiences
with Youth Clergy and Lay Leaders

The Surgeon General identifies protective factors for individuals as:

  • Coping and problem solving skills
  • Reasons for living
  • Moral objections to suicide

It is natural for youth leaders and clergy to address these themes with youth groups.  iGROW experiences and activities are summarized in the  manual and we hope every congregation will consider implementing elements with their youth.  You will see that the WELLNESS ACTIVITIES section integrates the Boston Children’s Hospital depression prevention curriculum.

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