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Sherrie Page Guyer, MSN, RN

Freelance writer specializing in health topics.

To Address the Teen Mental Health Crisis, Look to School Nurses

It’s a deadly time to be a teenager. The most recent CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that in 2021, more than one-fifth of high schoolers seriously considered committing suicide. Worse, 10% tried. Even without pandemic data, rates of youth depression almost doubled over the past decade, making youth mental health a current top priority for the U.S. Surgeon General.

There are already people on the front lines to combat this teen mental health crisis: school nurses, the trusted healthcare p

Brandon Guyer's Major League Mindset

Ever wonder how you can learn to better manage the stress of everyday life? The answer may surprise you: think like a baseball player. To succeed in Major League Baseball (MLB), players must cultivate a mindset that enables them to calm their nerves and focus in front of 50,000+ fans, handle 95-mile per hour fastballs, and remain positive when it’s normal to fail at least 70 percent of the time—over and over again—for a grueling 162 games per season.

What that means to the average person is tha

I wish mom had Ozempic. She would have loved me

"I'm from hearty German people," my morbidly obese mother used to say. "If the mule was sick, my ancestors would strap the yoke to their own backs to plow the field."

At first, I accepted my mother's heritage as the reason for her size, but as I grew older, I noticed Halloween and Easter candy disappeared overnight, Christmas cookies meant for gifts were never given, and special desserts baked for company never made it to the table.

Cakes, pies, ice cream—anything sweet—was her heroin. I'd fin

I Got Roped Into A Debate About Hair... Down There. How Had I Missed This New Beauty Standard?

Despite my high comfort level with sensitive subjects (we’d already covered sexual consent, teen pregnancy and STIs), the delivery of this hot-button news item from a 15-year-old honors student left me momentarily speechless. How could there be yet another beauty standard — especially for a concealed body part — to add to the already overwhelming list of superficial ideals?

As I searched for words, the 10th graders seated before me became animated. Each one had a fervent opinion on nether regio

Opinion: The question every parent should ask before school starts

Editor’s Note: Sherrie Page Guyer, MSN, RN, a former school nurse, holds a master’s degree in nursing from Yale University and is currently enrolled in the doctor of nursing practice program at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. The views expressed here are her own. Read more opinion on CNN.

Does your child’s school have a full-time registered nurse on staff? Most parents assume somebody is on hand to dispense medications, evaluate for possible concussions or confidently inject epine

Welcome Back, Clark

In November, the Library of Virginia announced the appointment of Dennis T. Clark as the state’s 10th Librarian of Virginia, succeeding Sandra Treadway, who served in the position since 2007 and retired last year. Clark comes to Richmond after serving as chief of researcher engagement and general collections at the Library of Congress. A former resident of the Commonwealth, he previously worked as a research librarian for both VCU and UVA.

“It is the pinnacle of my career to head the most signi

Why we need to take our daughters with us to see Taylor Swift

One of the lucky ones, I’d just struck Ticketmaster gold. As in eight lower-level seats to see Taylor Swift in concert gold. My immediate thought after did this really just happen? was, “Who do I take?”

My mind went straight to my girl squad. The friends I wanted dancing beside me in concert T-shirts and heart-shaped sunglasses, singing into the night about the ones who broke our hearts. Howling at the moon from outdoor stadium seats at the 40-yard line.

Just like Taylor’s song, I’m often “22”

The tragedy of the Golden Gate Bridge’s $400 million anti-suicide net

Each year about 30 people make the gut-wrenching decision to leap off the Golden Gate bridge to their deaths. To address this tragedy, a Suicide Deterrent Net is being constructed — a planned $142 million project that, after years of delays, may end up costing more than $400 million, according to contractors embroiled in a lawsuit.

The stainless steel barrier will undoubtedly catch people before they hit the frigid San Francisco Bay. But speaking as a psychiatric nurse, I believe the $400 milli

Finding Balance

I can’t pinpoint exactly when Dove squares and Nightingale Ice Cream Sandwiches became a food group in my book, but sugar had me on speed dial, and I knew it was time to regroup.

In years past, I’ve taken healthy getaways to Hilton Head Health, Yogaville, and a beachfront boot camp in Tulum, Mexico. This time, I chose Eupepsia Wellness Resort, set on 256 acres in Bland, an hour west of Blacksburg.

Compared to spa destinations like Canyon Ranch, Eupepsia’s rates are reasonable, and the drive wa

We're Facing a Massive Nursing Shortage. On Site Childcare Is the Answer

Here we go again: It's not even the height of flu season and hospitals are slammed, running out of beds due to the collision of respiratory viruses and a shortage of registered nurses. Per the CDC's data, the tripledemic of flu, RSV and COVID will worsen with winter, and inadequate staffing concerns aren't going anywhere.

Hospitals keep throwing money at this problem by raising salaries, enticing new employees with sign-on bonuses, and shoring up thinning rosters with premium-pay travel nurses.

Kettlebells on Broadway: Mom Struggles With Daughter's Career Change

Halfway through the show, I turned off the TV. It wasn’t that bad of a comedy, but all I could do was imagine my daughter Alex, in the lead. Her soulful spunk would’ve added the extra dimension the role needed; I often mentally recast her in parts.

Alex’s career change from actor to exercise instructor was hard for me. I simply couldn’t understand why she chose to use her rich alto voice to command clients to “feel the burn,” over wowing an audience with a strong blended harmony.

A spunky thea

As part of admissions, colleges should require high school students to take mental health courses (opinion)

As a nurse and wellness coordinator at an all-girls preparatory school in Richmond, Va., I have a front-row seat to the stress our students go through to build perfect college résumés. I see it in the classrooms, hear it in the cafeteria and now, during COVID, discuss it with them over Zoom. All around me, students are frequently overwhelmed and exhausted. I’ve known star athletes, straight-A scholars and class leaders -- kids accepted by their first-choice college -- who struggle, too often sil

Teen Mental Health Is Suffering. Here’s How the School System Can Help

May is mental health awareness month, and it’s no secret that this past year has challenged everyone’s mental wellbeing. For teenagers alone, they’ve faced their own set of challenges — from virtual college tours to Zoom classes to socially distant gatherings. The pandemic has only worsened teen mental health. Over the last decade, the number of teens with debilitating anxiety and depression has risen nationwide, with 17% of youth between the ages of 6 to 17 experiencing psychiatric illness and

Artsy Socks

Artist Diego Sanchez finds himself an unlikely retail rock star these days. His vibrant painting, Composition #76, has been reimagined as a puzzle in the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) Shop. The puzzle has been so popular that the shop is now rolling out socks.

Sanchez’ “fun, happy work,” which is in the VMFA’s permanent collection, translates beautifully to retail items, says Dana Masters, the museum’s product development coordinator. “Diego is known in the community,” she adds. “People a

Back to School, Again!

What in the world was I thinking?” It was one of many questions I asked myself as I fumbled trying to connect my phone to a security app that would’ve allowed me through the university’s firewall. Here was one more thing I had yet to figure out as a newly enrolled middle-aged student. Along with registering for classes, uploading vaccine records, and accessing the entire library, everything was now online, including most of my coursework.

I’d decided to go back to school for my Doctor of Nursin

A Voice in the Dark

Many Richmonders know about Cameron Gallagher, the Freeman High sophomore who died of a heartbeat irregularity after completing her first half-marathon this past March. Although her life ended representing the verse that has become her memorial’s motto, Fight… Finish… Faith, this would not be Cameron’s last race.

Her too-short life has inspired a new event, the Speak Up 5K, which will be held in Byrd Park on Sept. 6. The race was created out of Cameron’s desire to raise awareness about youth de

Essay: 53 & Me

What in the world was I thinking?” I thought as I fumbled my phone-to-laptop connection like the middle-aged student I am.

Along with class registration, Zoom protocols, and learning to peruse virtual library stacks, everything about this go-around with graduate school—and I mean everything—had changed.

A school nurse with a master’s degree in psychiatric nursing, I’d enrolled in UVA’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program to better position myself to help address the nation’s escalating teen men

Moms Come First

Motherhood connects women worldwide. Taking care of mothers means healthier families, less poverty, and stronger communities. Midwives for Haiti, a Richmond-based non-profit, has built a bridge from Virginia to Haiti to keep women alive to raise the children they bring into the world. The number of orphaned children in Haiti is estimated to be over 750,000. Midwives for Haiti saves women’s lives, allowing children to have mothers. There is no organization better suited to celebrate the month of

Kids & Food Allergies

Nearly six million American children have life-threatening food allergies. If that stat wasn’t on your radar before, the tragic death of Amarria Johnson, the first grader who died from ingesting peanuts at her Chesterfield County school in early January, has significantly raised awareness.

Allergies can lead to death when exposure causes anaphylaxis, the term for the immune system’s overreaction to a food protein. Anaphylaxis can affect the entire body. The most dangerous reactions involve the

Sea to Sea

Shuffling uncomfortably in the salty, humid air, 23 St. Catherine's students and I stood in the middle of a weed-ridden field that had been a Japanese coastal neighborhood of colorfully painted homes and businesses. Now, nothing remained except foundations and mud — mountains of stacked, bagged mud.

As I was trying to envision the force that had swept away all evidence of life, a worn, compact silver car came to a squealing halt before us, and an angry Japanese man jumped out, screaming at us.

A New Stage

Halfway through the show, I turned off the TV. It wasn’t that bad of a comedy, but all I could do was imagine my daughter, Alex, in the lead. Her soulful spunk would’ve added the extra dimension the role needed; I often mentally recast her in parts.

Alex’s career change from actor to exercise instructor was hard for me. I simply couldn’t understand why she chose to use her rich alto voice to command clients to “feel the burn,” over wowing an audience with a strong blended harmony.

A spunky the

Eat, Pray, Richmond

I started 2012 on a beach in Tulum, Mexico. Divorced almost two years, I still struggled with the intensified demands that came with being a single mom — the full-time job, two kids with busy after-school schedules, needy pets, a historic house with old pipes, no time for myself, bills, bills, bills. Now over 40, I was challenged by obstacles that many women face earlier: how to balance a checkbook (use checks with carbons), change air filters (this should happen every month — who knew?) and mow

Talk About Diversity

Despite living in a country that guarantees basic freedoms to all, struggles with issues of race and tolerance are recurring themes in our society. How do we raise our children to respect differences, when diversity is so difficult to discuss? Kids can surprise you with some doozie questions. Local parents revealed some tough ones:

Why is it such a big deal that a Black man is President? Why do all the yard-workers speak Spanish? Why do only Black people get off the bus stop at apartment buildi

Deciding to Vaccinate With Gardasil?

You may find it difficult to acknowledge that one day your children will be sexually active. However, taking steps to keep them healthy when they are, is an action you can take as a parent. Vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV) with Gardasil, provides nearly 100 percent protection against the most common strains of HPV, a sexually transmitted infection (STI) responsible for genital warts and cervical cancer. Despite such powerful numbers, many parents choose not to vaccinate their c
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