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Child Mind Institute 2024 Spring Luncheon “Avoiding Burnout: How Parents and Children Can Overcome Toxic Achievement Culture”

May 16, 2024

New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Wallace Joins Discussion on How to Fight Back Against Achievement Culture

New York, NY – The Child Mind Institute, the leading independent nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders, hosted its 2024 Spring Luncheon on Wednesday, May 15. Held during Mental Health Awareness Month, the event featured a thought-provoking discussion between Jennifer Wallace, award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author of Never Enough: When Achievement Pressure Becomes Toxic – and What We Can Do About It, and Matthew M. Cruger, PhD, Clinical Director at the Child Mind Institute. The discussion was moderated by actress, comedian, author, and host of “The Parent Test,” Ali Wentworth. 

The event brought together a wide variety of distinguished individuals dedicated to helping equip children and families experiencing mental health and learning disorders with the proper resources and support. Attendees included Tamron Hall, Jeannie Gaffigan, Grace Bastidas, Erika Janes and more. 

“I think every child in the United States should have mental health fitness the same way we now do physical fitness.” said Harold S. Koplewicz, MD, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute. “Today anybody in their 30’s and 40’s knows that they need to exercise. And I frankly think that every child needs these skills at least once a year.”

The Child Mind Institute discussion revolved around the toxicity of achievement culture and new framework and advice to fight against it:

On social media, Jennifer Wallace shared, “What I have seen in the research is that social media is an accelerant and a magnifier of issues that a child might be having in real life… As a parent, you can be concerned that they may not be using social media in ways that are helpful to them. But if you have a child who is genuinely doing well, who is sleeping, who’s doing well in school, who’s involved in extracurricular activities, who’s going outside, who has deep friendships, who has the tools to cope with the inevitable envy that comes up, then I think as parents instead of getting furious, we should get curious, and we should take as much interest in their online worlds as we do on what’s going on at the party on Friday night.”

“I think we need to think very logically about when we spend time with our kids, what are we trying to achieve in those moments? You have to really focus on what their needs are. And I also think to be explicit about what we hold as our expectations and to be really clear about what we expect,” said Dr. Matthew Cruger

The luncheon raised over $350,000, which will support the Child Mind Institute’s crucial work to change the lives of children with mental health and learning disorders in the United States and around the world. 

The luncheon was co-chaired by Jennifer Harris, Christine Mack, Lisa and Guy Metcalfe, Debra G. Perelman, Jil Schaps, and Sara Weiner, PhD, and the host committee included Ellen Cohen, Desiree Gruber, Lauren Karp, Tammy Levine, Eileen Riano and Jessica Shell. 

Photos from the luncheon can be found here

This special event is part of the Child Mind Institute’s programming during Mental Health Awareness Month. The Child Mind Institute recently launched a powerful mental health awareness campaign Mental Health Fitness.” The campaign aims to show kids what some of the greatest athletes in the country do to prioritize their own mental health to be mentally fit, acknowledging the importance of prioritizing mental as well as physical well-being in preparation for the biggest sports competitions in the world. In a series of personal videos and interviews, athletes share how they’ve been able to face their own mental health challenges and provide pointers on how to combine fitness with core mental health skill-building techniques. One crucial message: Asking for support when you need it is a key part of maintaining your #MentalHealthFitness. Participants in this year’s campaign include Karl-Anthony Towns, Brandi Chastain, Sarah Adam, Jordan Chiles, Brooke Ferguson, Missy Franklin, Gus Kenworthy, Amber Glenn, Baron Davis, Hunter and Tara Woodhall, Steve Young, Emmanuel Acho, and more. Videos will debut across the Child Mind Institute’s social platforms, and on, throughout the month.

About the Child Mind Institute 

The Child Mind Institute is dedicated to transforming the lives of children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders by giving them the help they need to thrive. We’ve become the leading independent nonprofit in children’s mental health by providing gold-standard, evidence-based care, delivering educational resources to millions of families each year, training educators in underserved communities, and developing tomorrow’s breakthrough treatments. Together, we truly can transform children’s lives. Please learn more about the Child Mind Institute’s impact here.

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