Madison Consolidated Schools

Student Services Support for Families

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Many media outlets have recently highlighted the growing concern around youth mental health as the pandemic continues, with some experts calling it a ‘global mental health pandemic.’ Research suggests that during the pandemic, prevalence rates in the general population have quadrupled and tripled for depression and anxiety disorders, respectively. In a recent national survey of parents nearly half noticed a new or worsening mental health condition in their teenage children since the pandemic started.

We at Madison Consolidated Schools continue to support your children and are expanding our efforts for their social, emotional and behavioral learning. We also recognize that parenting in these times of stress is more challenging too. Like physical health, we all have mental health. And just as we can do things to be healthy physically, we need to take care to be healthy mentally and emotionally too. Provided here are resources to help you recognize and support your family's well-being.

Materials are arranged in order by age with support for younger children listed first and for adolescents and teens later on. Feel free to go to sections that address the needs of your particular age children.

I look forward to working with you as we love and support our MCS kids together!

~Shelli Reetz

MCS Student Services

Supporting Our Youngest Children in Times of Stress (Birth-5)

Our youngest children show signs of stress differently than adolescents and adults. Recognize signs for concern outlined in the brochure below.

10 Things the Brain Needs to Be Healthy

  1. Sleep-Kids of all ages should get 8-10 hrs per night.
  2. Brain food--Fuel the body with healthy, nutritious options.
  3. Water--Always a good choice
  4. Exercise--Physical activity is associated with healthy brains and bodies.
  5. Breath--When in doubt, close your mouth and take a breath.
  6. Teamwork/Play-Learning is a social activity, so make connections. (even virtual ones)
  7. Challenge--push the limits of your skills and knowledge often.
  8. Limited screen time--Excessive screen time invites the lower parts of the brain to be in charge. You may see increased irritability, attention and focus problems.
  9. Laughter--Great medicine without the icky taste!
  10. Gratitude--Express your thanks often and honestly.

Make a chart as a family and track how many of the 10 things the brain needs to be healthy you get everyday! Make it a challenge to get as many as you can every day.

I'm bored...redirecting kids beyond screens

Big picture

Supporting Teens and Pre-teens

Sometimes we just need to press pause. Check out this website with useful tools for teens and preteens.

Parenting in a Pandemic Flipbook

Includes articles on a variety of topics: Managing Anxiety in Anxious Times, Guilt Has Got to Go, From Distressing to De-stressing, Three Simple Words your Adolescent Wants to Hear. Get the flipbook at the link below.

Turning Down the Negative Noise

It's okay to not be okay--when you or a loved one may need more support

Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
  • Overuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
  • Thinking about suicide
  • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
  • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Where To Get Help

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help. Learning all you can about mental health is an important first step.

Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor or state/county mental health authority for more resources.

Contact the NAMI HelpLine to find out what services and supports are available in your community.

Local Community Mental Health Providers

LifeSpring: (812) 265-4513

Centerstone: (812) 265-1918

If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should immediately call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or call 911.

Shelli Reetz, Student Services

Please reach out if you have questions, suggestions or need assistance.