East Hampton High School has a track record of taking proactive steps to protect the health of its students, addressing topics such as vaping and mental wellbeing in recent years. Now, with administrators reporting more and more students struggling with substance abuse and addiction to electronic devices, they are again tackling difficult thorny issues with openness and the help of experts.
A community forum titled “Protecting Our Children From Screen Addiction and Substance Abuse” will take place on April 27 at 6 p.m. at the high school.
Sara Smith, the principal, said Tuesday that she and her colleagues had witnessed changes in students’ behavior around these problems of addiction.
“We are noticing two things that keep popping up . . . under the umbrella of addiction,” Ms. Smith said. “We are seeing a lot of issues with screen addiction and issues with substance abuse. The things that come to our office tend to fall under those domains. What effects are they having on teenagers and teenage mental health? What do we do as a school community to address it?”
At the forum, to which the public has been invited, the speakers will be Dr. Nicholas Kardaras, a noted psychologist, professor, and author who has established addiction-treatment programs across the country, and Kym Laube, the executive director of Human Understanding and Growth Services Inc. (a program known locally as HUGS). After their presentations, they will take questions from the audience. Also on hand to share resources will be representatives of nearby social service agencies, mental health providers, treatment centers, and nonprofit groups including OLA and the Family Service League.
Students who attend the forum will receive community-service hours. Spanish-language translation will be available. The event is also open to students and families from Springs, Montauk, Amagansett, Wainscott, and Sagaponack. Questions can be directed to Ms. Smith via email at [email protected].