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Annabelle FELL'85 spoke to the Branksome community as part of the Conversations with Parents speaker series.
March 1, 2017
Struggle Can Be Healthy for Our Kids
When Annabelle FELL'85 - social worker and expert on children's mental health - addressed our community as a "Conversations with Parents" speaker, she wanted to give the audience some real tips to take away from the evening. And the capacity crowd in the Eaton Common Room would definitely agree that she gave them a lot to think about.

Her topic was "Managing the Ups and Downs: The Importance of Struggle for Your Daughter and Your Role in Helping Her Navigate Life's Challenges." She helped parents distinguish between kids' healthy struggle and unhealthy struggle, or non-typical behaviours that parents should take action on.

With her non-judgmental attitude, sense of humour and clear framework for understanding what's going on in kids' lives, parents were quick to open up and ask the real questions on their minds. Just as she recommended we do with our children, Annabelle affirmed everyone's experience and gave helpful suggestions. She referred to the "healthy mind platter" approach used by our school social workers, who are a resource for Branksome parents and students at any time.

Annabelle has more than 15 years of experience supporting kids and families facing the challenges associated with mood disorders, self-harming behaviours, eating disorders and other mental health issues.

She has held sessions with our faculty and students, sharing information that will enable them to improve the mental health of our community. We thank the Class of '86 for identifying how important it is for girls to be able to talk openly about mental health and for generously funding opportunities for these conversations to be held throughout the school.

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