Bartel Foundation Launches New Series of Teen Mental Health Workshops

The Ryan Bartel Foundation, a Loudoun County-based nonprofit whose mission is to prevent youth suicide,is launching a series of 12 new online FORTitude workshops designed to help teens ward off negative thoughts andempower them with essential life skills and habits for a lifetime of positive mental health.

Val Walters, Ryan Bartel Foundation executive director, said the workshops were created by the Foundation in collaboration with Dr. CamCaswell, adolescent psychologist, and Ofosu Jones-Quartey, mindfulness educator. The workshops use best practices in mindfulness and positive psychology.

“The CDC has found that teen suicide rose from 10.5 in 2019 to 11.1 deaths in 2020 [per 100,000 adolescents ages 15-19]. The rate in Virginia is 11.6 per 100,000,” Walters stated. “The impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of teens is evident. Since last March, teens have reported higher levels of anxiety, stress and depression. When we moved our services online, we realized that helping them find a positive sense of identity and well-being is critical. It is even more important as we face another several more months before vaccines are widely available and their lives can have a semblance of normalcy.”

The FORTitude workshops are specifically designed to accommodate teen development and online learning styles while they teach new skills that will help teens alleviate stress, promote positive thinking, build emotional resilience, develop coping mechanisms, improve self-esteem and self-worth, and encourage a growth mindset.

Workshops are limited in size to encourage meaningful connection and relationship building.

“We are encouraging parents to register their teens for all 12 FORTitude sessions, because they builduponeach other,” Walters said. “Participation inthecomplete 12 sessions is idealfor best outcomes.”

Registration is now open for FORTitude workshops, which are ideally suited for teens struggling with anxiety, self-worth, loneliness and/or depression. Register at

To learn more and hear directly from the creators of this teen workshop series, join the foundation’s FORTitude for Parents panel on Jan 21 at 7 p.m. Learn more at

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