Learn from Experts

Quick Answers to Big Parenting Questions 

We know parents have limited time, so we've turned to local mental health professionals to help all of us Learn from Experts in short videos.  Check out the entire series on the CATCH YouTube channel or click below on the topic that's most interesting to you.

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View All the Episodes of Learn from Experts

Social Anxiety

Social situations can feel awkward for many people, but for some, that discomfort can become extreme and present as social anxiety.

Megan Hoffman, LCSW, Compass Health Center, Northbrook, IL, explains how it impacts a kid, signs and treatment, and what parents can do to support their child when dealing with this challenging situation.


School Refusal

Did you know that when a child struggles to get to school, stay there, or go there in the first place, that's called school refusal?

It's often an indication of underlying mental health issues.

Toni Boos, PsyD, Compass Health Center, Northbrook, IL outlines the signs of school refusal, how parents should respond and support their child, when to seek professional help, and how to find the balance between pushing a child and accommodating them.


Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is about much more than a person's desire to change their body. In fact, it's a way of coping with deeper emotional pain and is very much a mental illness.

Sarah Halvorson, LMFT, Director of Clinical Services, Ascend Consultation in Heath Care - Chicago, Northbrook
answers questions about diagnosis, treatment, and more.



Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular treatment for a range of mental health challenges for both kids and adults, but do you really know what it is?

Dr. Erica Wagner-Heimann, PsyD, Co-Founder and Director, Center for Anxiety & OCD, Deerfield, IL explains how CBT works, its benefits, and the role parents play in the process.



Children caught in a cycle of unwanted thoughts, fears, and worries may be dealing with OCD: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

While this mental illness can greatly disrupt daily life, it is treatable.

Dr. Andrea Barmish Mazza, PhD, Co-Founder and Director, Center for Anxiety and OCD, Deerfield, IL, discusses OCD signs, symptoms, and treatment options, as well as the role parents play in the entire experience.



If your child is expressing intense fear that's getting in the way of daily life, they may be experiencing a phobia.

Dr. Jennifer Keller, licensed clinical psychologist, Center for Anxiety and OCD, Deerfield, IL explains a fear vs. phobia, symptoms, treatment options, and suggestions for how to support a child as they manage life with phobias. 



When a kid is struggling to pay attention in school or concentrate on their homework, we often think of that as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But there’s much more to it than that lack of focus.

Noelle Pontarelli, PhD, licensed clinical psychologist, Illuminate Psychological Assessments, Wilmette, IL, answers four key questions to help parents with kids who may have ADHD. 


Exploring Anxiety in Kids & Teens 

Anxiety is widespread these days, but all cases are not created equal. There's typical anxiety that is quite manageable and then there's a range of anxiety disorders which are more serious, diagnosable, and treatable with therapy and/or medication. How do you know the difference and how do you handle each one?

Dr. Amber May, Child, Adolescent & Adult Psychiatrist, The Bloomberg Institute, Northbrook, IL, answers these questions and more to help parents understand their child's anxious behavior, how to respond to it, and when to get professional help.


Teens, Depression, & Suicide (Ages 12-18)

Depression and suicide rates are on the rise especially in the midst of a global pandemic.

Erica Leibrandt, LCPC, RYT, MA, Sound Mind Counseling, Glenview, IL, answers questions about teenage depression, symptoms, treatments, active and passive suicidal ideation and more.


Practicing Gratitude

Practicing gratitude is scientifically proven to improve your physical and mental health, help you sleep better, and enhance your relationships. However, it's more than listing the things for which you are grateful.

Empowerment Coach Judith Joy explains how to start a meaningful gratitude practice for yourself, how to engage your kids in the experience, and how to incorporate it into your Zoom Thanksgiving.



If a weekly mental health therapy session is not enough to meet a child's needs, another option is attending an IOP, an intensive outpatient program.

Dr. Dan Mortenson, PhD, Chicago Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Center, LLC, explains this level of treatment including how to know if this is the right choice for your child, what the typical schedule looks like, and expectations for parents. 



Some kids need more support than a weekly therapy session or an IOP (intensive outpatient program).  In that case, the child may find help in a partial hospitalization program or PHP. 

Shannon Goebel Paul, CEO, Plena Mind Center, Northbrook, IL, explains what a PHP offers and allays the common fears that come with the word "hospitalization". 

Family Survival Guide for Pandemic Holidays

Are you wondering how you're going to get through the holiday season during a pandemic?

Check out the Family Survival Guide for Pandemic Holidays in which Lizzy Appleby, AM, LCSW, Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, shares ideas on how to frame the holidays and set up your family for a season that is relaxed and meaningful.


COVID Risks at School (Ages 5-18)
(August 2020)

As students return to in-person learning throughout the 2020-21 school year, there are many questions about how best to reduce the risks of COVID-19. 

Dr. Marcy Zirlin, Immediate Care Physician, Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital
and Northbrook resident, answers questions about managing lunch time without masks, selecting in-person activities, the effectiveness of a face shield, and how to sneeze safely!


Our Stay-At-Home Summer (Ages 3-8)
(July 2020)

A summer close to home with little ones in the midst of a pandemic brings a list of unique challenges.

Dr. Leigh Weisz of Coping Partners, Northbrook, IL, guides parents of children ages 3-8 on how to establish a summer routine when there isn't one, what to do about consequences, and how to get kids to open up about how they are really feeling.


Our Stay-At-Home Summer (Ages 7-13)
(July 2020)

Summer 2020 tossed everyone's plans out the window and kept families closer to home than usual due to COVID-19. 

Jennifer Welbel, LCPC, North Suburban Center for Anxiety, Northbrook, IL,
talks about managing unscheduled time, setting and enforcing families rules around socializing, getting kids to transition off electronics and more hot topics.


Looking for more information?

Check out the CATCH Podcast!

Parenting the Mental Health Generation features CATCH Conversations with mental health professionals on the topics that concern us as we navigate our parenting journeys and support our kids struggling with their emotional well-being.