St. B's Participates in Children's Mental Health Awareness Week Campaign
During Covid-19 we are reminded regularly about the importance of taking care of our physical health (wash your hands, practice social distancing, wear a face mask). It is also important that we take care of our mental health. Being a way from school and friends can lead to children experiencing feelings of loneliness or depression. Being in a new learning environment can create stress and anxiety for many children.
During Mental Health Awareness Month, St. B's will be celebrating National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, May 3-9. Organized by the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health (NFFCMH), this week promotes public awareness about children's mental health issues and bring attention to the mental health needs of children and their families. At St. B’s we believe that all students, parents, and faculty benefit from increasing mental health awareness. Awareness reduces stigma, increases understanding of mental illness and supports early identification and intervention. Therefore, demystify the perception of mental health.
In order to support the discussion of mental health, it is vital to remember that mental health challenges can affect anyone, it is not the result of character, personal defects, or poor upbringing. In addition, mental disorders are treatable with proper care and treatment. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAMI) students need to actively see that it is okay to talk about mental health. One out of six adolescents are diagnosed with a mental health disorder any given year, but only 20% of those that need help will receive it. Schools are places where kids can find comfort in talking about what they are going through, seek help if they need it, and receive encouragement when they experience mental health challenges.
I hope that you will join us in this campaign for children's mental health. Each day during Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, I will post information and resources on this blog on ways to support your child's mental health. In addition, here are daily themed activities to further the discussion with your child on ways to stay mentally healthy. You can try out a few or do them all.
Monday, May 4th- Mindfulness Monday
Mindfulness noticing what is happening right now. It is paying attention to what is happening inside of you (body and mind) and the world around you. Mindfulness helps you achieve good mental health by helping you to notice your thoughts and feelings as they are happening.
Read more about mindfulness and its benefits for children by following this link.
Here are some activities to help you practice mindfulness at home: (click the links)
-Go on a nature scavenger hunt
-Create a mind jar
-Listen to a mindfulness app
-Practice mindful eating
-Engage in a mindfulness game or activity
-Practice mindful listening
**Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for Mindfulness Monday.
Tuesday, May 5th-GratiTuesday
Research has shown that gratitude improves mental health by increasing happiness and decreasing feelings of depression.
Here are some activities that you can do as a family to practice gratitude:
-Make a thankfulness jar-decorate it and add something you are thankful for each day. When you are feeling sad, pull out the gratitude jar and read through it
-Share something you are grateful for about each person in the family
-Create thank you cards for an essential worker
-Create a gratitude tree or thankfulness wreath-write things you are thankful for on each leaf.
-Start a gratitude journal: write one thing you are thankful for each day
-Make a gratitude collage that includes pictures of things that you are thankful for
**Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for GratiTuesday.
Wednesday, May 6th-Wellness Wednesday
Wellness refers to being in a state of good health.
Here are a list of family activities to improve physical wellness.
-Go on a family walk, nature hike, or bike ride
-Play "Card Game Fitness" (click link)
-Family Yoga (click link for YouTube video)
-Cook a healthy meal together as a family
**Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for Wellness Wednesday
Thursday, May 7th-Thoughtful Thursday
-Brainstorm as a family, things you could do or say to support someone with mental illness or a mental health challenge.
-Think of someone you know who is going through a hard time. Design a card for the person to let them know how much you care.
-Decorate rocks with uplifting words or pictures and leave them around your neighborhood.
-Create mental health slogans or kindness quotes using chalk.
-Discuss how thoughtfulness toward someone else who is struggling, can also improve our own mental health and well-being
-In celebration of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, I invite everyone take a picture of your family wearing green and holding up a sign that says #MentalHealthMatters. We want our community to know that St. B's believes that children's mental health matters! Please email pictures directly to Leah Molloy
**Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for Thoughtfulness Thursday.
Friday, May 8th-Fun Family Friday
Engaging in fun activities is a great way to improve mental health. Since we are all social distancing, get creative with things you can do as a family. Check out these ideas.
-Have a backyard "drive in"
-Organize a dance party
-"Families Got Talent" show
-Go camping in your backyard
-Have a cooking competition
-Create a "Tik-Tok" family video
-Plan an indoor picnic
-Organize a movie character theme night
-Go on a family indoor and/or outdoor scavenger hunt
Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for Fun Family Friday!
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. Good self-care is the key to a good mood and reduced anxiety.
-This weekend, make it a priority to practice self-care as a family. Here are some fun ideas:
-Here is a fun checklist that you can use with younger kids to check off the things they do to take care of themselves.
Take a picture and send me an email letting me know what you did for Self Care Saturday
If you have questions and/or concerns about your child's social and/or emotional wellbeing, please do not hesitate to email school counselor, Leah Molloy at L.Molloy@stbs.org