DocTalk: Back to school with Behavioral Health

In May Midtown’s behavioral health team talked about the importance of keeping children mentally healthy during the summer months. Now that school is back in session our behavioral health team wants to make sure students are thriving throughout the year as well.

Midtown’s primary therapist for Norfolk Public Schools, Michael Saegebarth, PLMHP, offered some insight on how students can stay mentally healthy during a long, potentially stressful school year, and it all comes down to an after-school routine.

“Children tend to thrive off structure and having an after-school routine will only provide further benefits for the child and the family,” Saegebarth said.

Saegebarth suggests parents should post their student’s after-school routine on their fridge or in the child’s bedroom to help remind the student what is expected after school. He acknowledged that although after-school routines are beneficial, there are some extra-curricular activities that can add to a hectic day for some families. But, Saegebarth said young individuals are able to adapt and evolve which makes for smoother transitions for students when after-school activities are thrown at them.

After a long day, Saegebarth said it is up to every student to find what works for them to decompress.

“Finding an effective way to decompress after a stressful school day could entail talking to a parent, friend, partaking in a physical activity or even reading,” Saegebarth said. “However, it is ultimately up to the individual on deciding on what is a healthy way to decompress that allows the person to experience relaxation or brings joy into their life.”

Ultimately, parents should keep consistent communication with teachers and guidance counselors to better understand the source of mental health symptoms their children might be displaying Saegebarth said.  As always, make sure to keep good communication with your children as well to better understand what is going on in their lives as well ensure they are having a great, healthy school year.


Midtown Health Center’s DocTalk is a collaborative effort of the Dr. Emily Vuchetich, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Seger, Chief Dental Officer; Dr. Josh Turek, Chief Behavioral Health Officer as well as Midtown’s other providers. For a full list of Midtown’s providers as well as more information about Midtown please visit