Mental Wellness Festival – May 14, 2022

Mental Wellness Festival

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The Verona and Cedar Grove school districts will be joining with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care to present a Mental Health Wellness Festival at the Verona Civic Center on Saturday, May 14, from noon to 3 p.m. The rain date will be Sunday at the same time.

The festival will feature a variety of music and activities, food trucks and more. For more information or to participate as a vendor, contact Rutgers’ Jacquelyn Novick, (732) 841-0686, or Chad Tieger (732) 882-3830, or fill out this form.

Over the past school year, Dr. Frank Mauriello, the director of special services and district mental health coordinator for Verona Public Schools, has hosted a series of presentations by Rutgers experts on youth mental health topics.

I’m Not Raising a Wilting Flower

I’m Not Raising a Wilting Flower: How to Build Children’s Resilience in the Midst of a Pandemic

written by Dr. Liz Matheis, published on psychology today

This pandemic has challenged every single one of us. Children, teens, adults: we all have had to balance an extra set of life demands that have been outside the scope of any other life experience we have had thus far. I often pose a question to help us realize that we don’t have a former life experience to reference right now: “How many pandemics have we lived through? Just one and, hopefully, only one!”

As a mom and a psychologist, I have watched my own children and others collectively struggle with isolation, loneliness, anxiety, academics, and reintegrating into a world that is slowly opening back up. We know that adolescents are very self-focused and believe they are on display on their imaginary stage where everyone is watching (aka the imaginary audience). Add the computer camera, masks, and social distancing, and we have a lot of confusion, stagnation in the development of skills, anxiety, and depression.

Adolescence is already a period of intense growth, identity building, and emotional chaos as it is. Add a pandemic into the mix, and that is a lot of intense emotion to process on top of the usual “stuff.” It’s a lot more to unravel and work through alongside the “regular” milestones to develop.

So how do we, as parents, build children who can use this experience to develop a sense of self and strength? How do we raise children who are not going to fall apart when presented with a challenge? How are we going to grow children who can face stress and use it to find their inner strength? Resilience isn’t born; it’s bred. As parents, we can play a role in building resilient children who aren’t going to break down each time they are faced with a life stressor, big or small.

Provider Spotlight: Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling

Provider Spotlight: Megan Marchaterre, RDN, Back to Basics Nutrition Counseling

Megan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist with over 14 years of experience in  nutrition counseling. She holds a certification in Adult Weight Management through the commission on dietetic registration. Her belief is that everyone is unique and therefore should be evaluated individually.  

“I believe in a non-diet approach focusing on whole foods and lifestyle change. I take  a no ‘one size fits all’ approach and create individual plans based on the patients  needs. My focus is on making small sustainable changes.” 

Megan’s special interests are:  

  • Adult and adolescent weight management  
  • Bariatric nutrition counseling 
  • Medical nutrition therapy  
  • Eating disorders/disordered eating  

If you are interested in making an appointment with Megan please call (973) 744- 7495. She is currently seeing patients in her Denville office and via telehealth. 



The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting and Saving

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide to Budgeting and Saving

published on

That’s it! You did it! You are finally on your own, out of your parent’s house, and thrown into the real world full of opportunities and possibilities. You may have no idea how to begin this next stage in your life’s journey but don’t be alarmed, not many people are really prepared to become an adult and the first thing adults need to do is get their finances in order.


The first step in creating a working plan for the future is understanding what your budget is and how to stay in line with it. Well, it all begins with looking into your current expenses, income, and planning on what you can afford. If you are moving out of your parent’s house, begin by looking into where you want to move and the associated expenses. Are you going to need a car? Will you be given furniture or will you need to buy everything from scratch? Start with your largest expenses and work your way down the list remembering to include items most people would forget until they get the bill in the mail.


Rent is one of the largest expenses for any individual or household. Rent payments should be seen as an umbrella term as your rent normally has many bills attached to it. Getting your own place offers so much freedom and with that a lot of responsibility. When looking for your new home, consider the neighborhood, what the average price of rents are and whether or not you should be getting yourself a roommate.

In many cases, such as moving away from home to go to college or university, rent prices in the area you are moving to are typically expensive. You will have many choices to consider such as living beside the school but paying higher rent prices for the location or living further off-campus but having to deal with the commute. This same concept applies to a new job. Consider all of these factors when choosing your new place and you can guarantee no surprises are waiting for you.

When calculating rental expenses and when discussing your contract understand the costs associated with your new home. Is it in an apartment building? There will probably be monthly maintenance costs that are not included in the rent. Electricity, water, property taxes, cable bills, phone bills, internet, and Netflix subscriptions are just a few of the bills a new place comes with and individually they don’t seem too daunting but when added up altogether can add hundreds of dollars onto your monthly expenses. Calculate what you will require in your new home, do some research online and determine what you can budget for as well as how much money you can actually afford to pay in rent.


Moving to the city? Need to drive to work? Transportation costs are another type of expense that adds up quickly. Do you think because your car is paid off that this won’t affect you? Think again. Cars require gas, maintenance, parking spots, you can get parking tickets, and many other things that can surprise you. Consider what you will need monthly for your car and add it to your expense budget. In some cases, a parking spot in the city can cost more than rent and this is not something you want to have to worry about after you’ve closed on a rental property.

If a car seems way too luxurious for your lifestyle consider where you live and what a monthly bus pass would cost. Calculate how often you will be using taxis, trains, and other means of transportation, and add this to your budget. Maybe you will determine that having a bike is better and that you should purchase one and give up your car. Figure out what that would cost? By budgeting accordingly, you can prepare yourself for anything that the world throws at you and ensure you have enough saved up to get you that new set of wheels, regardless of how many wheels you’ve figured out you need.

Sensitive Teeth: Risk Factors and Treatment Options

Sensitive Teeth: Risk Factors and Treatment Options

written by Alyssa Hill, published on

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is when you feel a sharp, sudden pain after exposure to cold or hot liquids, sweets, and highly acidic substances. Sensitive teeth can be caused by a variety of factors, including lifestyle habits, harsh over-the-counter products, or as a side effect of common dental conditions. Sensitivity can also develop after minor restorative dental procedures, but the pain typically resolves within a few days.

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

Product Review: Zenimal for Mindfulness

by Deborah Tiel Millard

I began my search for a unique way to develop mindfulness, when my 11-year-old son was struggling to regulate big emotions and settle himself to go to sleep at night. My goal is similar to that of most parents, to see my son become independent and capable of self-regulation.

I was looking for a screen-less option, as I wanted something to help develop regulation and self-calming before bed. This ruled out all the great apps for devices like phones or tablets. This search led me to Zenimal.

A Zenimal is a screen-free device that assists children with developing mindfulness through nine mediations. The nine meditations cover the following areas: sleep, gratitude, stillness, breath, creativity, relaxation, empathy, feelings and warmth (healing). The device also offers three options for white noise to soothe and help a child fall asleep and stay asleep.

I did my research and went ahead and ordered one. My son thought the unboxing experience was pretty cool and the turtle-shaped device was cute. We plugged it in and read about the options. That night he chose the sleep meditation and fell right to sleep. Ever since, my son has been using his turtle at night either through the sleep meditation or one of the white noise settings to help him sleep.

As a Mom, I love many of the features that Zenimal offers. The device can be plugged in and white noise played all night, or left unplugged, it will play for an hour. It is cute and cleverly designed. It’s easy to find the buttons by feeling in the dark. I also really appreciate the many meditation options and I’ve used several of them myself. Speaking of that, there is also an option for adults! You can even purchase additional meditation cartridges.

I have been really impressed with Zenimal both for my son and myself. I may just go ahead and order one for myself, so I don’t keep stealing his!


A Guide to Dental Care for Children with Autism

A Guide to Dental Care for Children with Autism

published on

Children with autism are likely to suffer many more oral health problems, including tooth decay, gum disease and dental injury, than children without autism. Many autistic kids have sensory sensitivities that make it difficult to maintain an effective oral hygiene routine. These issues may also make visits to the dentist challenging.

Parents and caregivers can do several things to make oral hygiene and dental visits easier for their autistic kids. Implementing behavioral techniques, using autism-friendly dental products, and seeking out dental professionals with specialized knowledge can all help your child with autism maintain good oral health.

Decision Making Skills for Young Adults

Decision Making Skills for Young Adults

written by Calvin & Tricia Luker, published on

When students with disabilities become young adults, they and their parents often ask whether and how decision-making practices should change. After all, the student and family, and the school, medical, vocational and service providers have been using the transition process for several years to help prepare the student for complete community inclusion. Now that the student is nearing, or has attained, the age of majority, how should decision making responsibilities be addressed? This article answers that question.

"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Julie C.
"Dr. Matheis has a remarkable ability to understand the unique needs of her patients and address them constructively. She builds strong, meaningful relationships with patients and their families, encouraging trust and collaboration. When working with my son who struggles with autism-related anxiety, she created an environment in which he was able to calm down and open up to her in ways I had not seen before. She was able to reach him and helped him work through his crisis/problem. Most importantly, she empowered him to move forward."
- N.L.
"Dr. Matheis is amazing. She has tremendous resources and loads of energy. She is not willing to accept anything less than the most effective results for her clients. She made me feel as if my son was her top priority throughout the entire process. I would, without reservation, give her my highest recommendations.  Thank you, Dr. Matheis!"
- Anonymous
"Dr. Matheis has an amazing ability to read kids and connect with them. She has been an invaluable resource for our family over the past several years and has helped us with everything from educational consulting, to uncovering diagnoses as well as family therapy. Working with Dr. Matheis never feels clinical and most importantly, our children love and trust her. We can not thank you enough Dr. Liz!"
- Anonymous
"My teenage son had been seeing Dr. Matheis through his senior year of high school, as he was only diagnosed with ADHD at 16 years old.  Dr. Matheis came highly recommended from our pediatrician and she has done wonders for our son as well as our family, navigating new ways for him to deal with his diagnosis without the use of medication.  She taught him ways to organize himself and even when something did not work for him, she patiently continued teaching him new ways to keep himself on track.  She has also helped us as parents to understand how his mind works so that we did not continue to blame his lack of focus on him, rather on his unique way of thinking.  Thank you Dr. Matheis!!!!"
- LG
"Dr. Liz is the best! Our family was directed to her by our Pediatrician to assist with figuring out severe mood changes, severe anxiety, strange new fears and food aversion that had come onto one of our children literally overnight. After just a couple of visits, she suggested that the issues may actually be rooted in a physical issue and suggested we immediately take our child to be swabbed for strep, because Dr. Liz suspected PANDAS (a pediatric autoimmune disorder brought on by strep). The same Pediatrician that suggested Dr. Liz would not do the swab (they do not believe in PANDAS and we no longer go there) but I took my child to my doctor who did the swab and it was positive for strep. When our child went on antibiotics, within 24 hours all symptoms went away and our child was back :-) Dr. Liz then recommended a PANDAS specialist who helped us and our child is in complete remission and is happy and healthy. We are incredibly grateful to Dr. Liz for her knowledge of all things, even the most remote and unusual and for helping us so much! Thank you!"
- Anonymous
"The various psycho-educational testing Dr. Liz conducted on our son gave us critical clues about where his learning strengths and weaknesses lie so that his needs could be better addressed at home and school. Moreover, because of their warm, kindhearted personalities, both Dr. Liz and her associate, Stephanie, formed an immediate bond with my son. He eagerly looks forward to his weekly therapy sessions. We are so lucky Dr. Liz came into our family's lives when she did! For stressed-out families trying to help their children as best they can, she is a calming voice of reason!"
- Anonymous
"Thank you, Dr. Liz. Although we have told you countless times, it will never feel enough. You have listened when J could barely speak and continued to listen when he was sad, angry and confused. You've challenged him and directed us in our roles as parents. You've helped J face his fears while the list evolved and changed, and yet you've stayed committed to 'the course.' We pray that your children realize that time away from them is spent helping children learn and that vulnerability is a sign of strength and bravery."
- June I
"My son was admitted to an Ivy League school when only 2 years ago, you assessed him and saw his struggles, his Dyslexia. We are grateful that he no longer has to carry that deep feeling of inadequacy or shame that must have kept him so self conscious and from reaching his potential. He has the PERFECT program for him. He has A's in high math and economics. He became a Merit Scholar, a Boys State legislature, the HEAD captain of the football team and help a job ALL while studying and managing his classes and disability. I am PROUD of you, a young doctor, who knows and sees the vulnerability of children and helps them recognize "it's NO big deal" God bless."
- Anonymous

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