TAP 194 - Dr. Jessica Cooperman on Helping Teenagers Manage Anxiety & School


This week we talk to Dr. Jessica Cooperman, a psychologist at Markham Stouffville Hospital (Ontario, Canada). Together with a team of skilled clinicians and educators, Dr. Cooperman founded ATLAS: Adolescent Teaching and Learning Alternative Services. ATLAS works with kids and teens suffering with depression and anxiety and offers teens support and a safe space to cope with their stress. 

ATLAS is a hospital program addressing the unique needs of teenagers struggling with anxiety and/or depression so severe that it is impairing their school attendance and functioning. The goal of the program is to provide students with the tools for a successful school re-entry and the resumption of a healthier, more fulfilling life where anxiety and sad mood no longer control behaviour.

Find out more about the ATLAS program here: http://www.msh.on.ca/node/1166


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In this episode you will learn:

  • How Dr. Cooperman faced her phobia and pursued psychology 
  • What is the ATLAS Program?
  • What are the initial steps in the ATLAS Program
  • How ATLAS Program incorporates fitness and exercise for the teens
  • The role of parents in the ATLAS Program
  • What advice would you give to those who don’t have access to ATLAS?
  • How involved does Dr. Cooperman get into teens’ backstory or history?
  • How ATLAS incorporates healthy eating for teens
  • What role does social media play into teens life in ATLAS and outside?
  • How jumping and shaking can help with anxiety
  • The importance of setting limits with your kids
  • How we need to encourage our kids and teens to connect without screens
  • How does medication play into the ATLAS Program
  • Do parents enable their kid’s anxiety?


“I think we are the only centre in Canada to be connected to a community centre”

“We try to find that right balance between making people feel comfortable and making them uncomfortable”

“There is some amount of anxiety that’s healthy in daily life”

“People have this “AH-HA!” where they finally get it and sometimes that’s all it takes to be open to trying something different.”

“Each step is adding up to make a difference."