New challenges are arising for students and parents as schools reopen this fall. With the challenges of COVID-19 still facing our world, mental health is a growing concern. In the past year, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health (C&A) has seen a 33% increase in clientele. This number is expected to grow this year as youth learn to deal with stress, anxiety and depression due to COVID-19 and systemic racism. Will children be allowed to interact with each other? Will they still feel lonely or excluded?
To continue to raise awareness around mental health among children and youth across Stark County during these unfamiliar times, C&A is excited to bring the second annual Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week from Sept. 14 to 18 to all of their partner schools.
Local community organizations AultCare and StarkMHAR are sponsoring the week to help bring attention to positive mental health practices for school-age kids. C&A will also partner with eight different school districts in Stark County – Alliance City, Canton City and Massillon City Schools and Lake, Marlington, Plain, Sandy Valley and Tuslaw local schools and North Canton City Schools asked to participate- to support and participate in this important week.
Throughout the week, a brief age-appropriate morning announcement will be read to younger students in each elementary, intermediate and middle school building reinforcing a positive mental health message for the day. The younger students will also receive post-it notes to write a positive message for themselves. Older students in high school will receive positive affirmation messages through their email or by text message to build and reinforce resiliency skills.
In every school, age-appropriate posters with the message “You Matter” will feature diverse groups of students and will be posted along the hallways in each participating school.
In addition to these efforts by C&A, there are things parents can do at home to help their children too. Socialization with friends may be difficult right now, but asking and doing these simple things with your child will help them feel more stable.
- Asking your child, “How was your day?” is a simple way to get them to connect with you.
- Making family meals a priority can go a long way into helping them feel less alone.
- Spending time outside playing or exercising is another way to boost their mood and probably your mood too.
- Encourage your child to eat nutritious, healthy snacks such as fruit, vegetables or nuts with you. This will help both of your bodies feel stronger and aid in immune support.
- Just like exercise, listening to your favorite music can have a relaxing, calming effect on your mental health.
- If you’re feeling really upset, try combining all these things by having a mini outdoor family dance party.
At School and Home:
Amy Starkey of Yoga-2-Go partnered with C&A to create age-appropriate mindfulness videos for teachers to use as relaxation breaks in the classroom throughout the day. These videos are also applicable for parents with students doing virtual learning.
To learn more about the services C&A provides, check out our other blog posts on our website or contact us as 330-433-6075.