EXPERT ON TEEN MENTAL HEALTH TO VISIT SCHOOL

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March 27, 2021

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Alum, renowned doctor and author will be giving a series of seminars for the NDPMA community on the pandemic, teens and depression; also says he gained much from his own Notre Dame education.

Dr. Berlinger says Notre Dame and Marist values become infused into every facet of your life. "They’re there every minute, every day, in everything you do."


Norman T. Berlinger, M.D., Ph.D., who graduated from Notre Dame High School (Harper Woods) in 1962, is a bioethicist and pathologist following a distinguished career as a surgeon. He writes on health issues and has been published in Discover magazine, the New York Times, Men's Health and elsewhere. 

In 2006, he published the book, "Rescuing Your Teenager from Depression," which drew from his own experiences with his son and sets forth "10 Parental Partnering Strategies" based on his own background and on interviews with parents of depressed teens and mental health professionals.

Beginning May 5, Notre Dame's counseling department will be hosting a series of free seminars given by Berlinger for the NDPMA community on how the pandemic is affecting teens and related topics. Information on additional dates and times will be released soon.

RSVP for the May 5 Parent Seminar on Student Mental Health at https://bit.ly/3w167Z6.

According to Vlado Salic, NDPMA's director of counseling, Berlinger will be discussing the issue of student mental health during the COVID pandemic and offer some practical guidelines and tips on both how to identify symptoms as well as provide treatment options when issues arise.  

"Topics will include signs that your teen might be experiencing adverse mental health consequences from the pandemic and things a parent can do to investigate or counteract possible adverse mental health consequences," Salic said. "His many years of experience working with teenagers and their families will serve as a great benefit to our students and school community."

For Berlinger, it's still another opportunity to give back to the school and Marist community he dearly loves.

Berlinger published "Rescuing Your Teenager from Depression" in 2006.


"Notre Dame was without doubt the pivotal factor in my development as a teen," said Berlinger who splits his time between homes in Minnesota and Michigan and served as an NDPMA trustee from 2014-2018. "I gave the commencement address at NDHS in 1962 and still remember saying that 'Notre Dame enriched our minds with knowledge as it turned our hearts to God.' We got the best of both as students. Our intellectual and spiritual lives were well nourished."

He said he also remembers the selfless individual attention he received from some of the faculty, including Fr. Ronald Saunders, s.m., who helped him become the editor-in-chief of the school’s newspaper, and Mr. Cass Cosky, who coached him on the NDHS debate team. 

"Every teen ought to have these extra adults like I had to show them the way and cheer them on," he added. "That benefit is enormous."

Berlinger also will be visiting a number of classes at NDP in the coming months to speak directly to students.

RSVP for the May 5 Parent Seminar on Student Mental Health at https://bit.ly/3w167Z6.

"I will be giving a presentation in the psychology classes about what depression and anxiety feel like," he said. "Teens often feel 'awful inside,' but can’t put a name on it. Once they can identify whether they're depressed, then they know who and how to ask for help if they are struggling. Likewise for anxiety. Sometimes teens may feel odd about talking about emotional health. But bringing the subject into the open in a classroom may help de-sensitize the issue so that it is less threatening or embarrassing for them."

Berlinger's presentations to parents will be via Zoom the first week in May and will cover how to identify whether a teen is struggling with anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. 

"Hopefully, this will empower parents to take constructive action sooner than later," he said. 

Berlinger said he is happy he's able to give back to the Notre Dame academic community since he gained so much as a Notre Dame student himself. 

He was asked about specifics.

"That question requires a book to answer so perhaps an anecdote will suffice," he said. "I do a fair amount of writing for national newspapers and magazines about science and health. About twenty years ago and, of course, many years after I was in high school, I published a heavily science-laden article about a particularly morose subject — the autopsy — in Discover magazine, which also became the cover story for the Detroit Free Press Sunday Magazine. 

"Fr. [John] Bryson, s.m., saw it and sent it to Fr. Omer St. Onge, s.m., who was my principal at Notre Dame from 1958-1962. I hadn’t seen Fr. St. Onge in at least thirty years. After reading it he wrote me from Massachusetts and said, 'Your Catholic values and your Notre Dame values came shining through.'"

St. Onge's comment surprised Berlinger because he didn’t purposely try to do that at all. 

"But — and here’s the point — Notre Dame and Marist values become infused into every facet of your life. They’re there every minute, every day, in everything you do."

RSVP for the May 5 Parent Seminar on Student Mental Health at https://bit.ly/3w167Z6.

For information on enrollment and registration at Notre Dame, please visit the admissions section of our website here.

Comments or questions? mkelly@ndpma.org

Follow Notre Dame on Twitter at @NDPMA.

About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. Notre Dame Preparatory School enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation's best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame's middle and lower schools enroll students in pre-kindergarten through grade eight. All three schools are International Baccalaureate "World Schools." NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the National Association of Independent Schools. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at www.ndpma.org.