Prevention for Families

Keep Your Teen Drug-Free :: January '21 Issue

A New Year for Mental Health: Setting Goals for Wellness

Phew. 2020 is over, and while that might not mean the end of our distress, it’s a start. As we begin to see hope on the horizon and make plans to rebuild the various areas of our lives that the pandemic upended, mental health remains an important component.

When we encounter adversity, we usually don’t come out the other side unchanged. This last year is no exception– we are changed and will be dealing with the lasting effects for a while.

However, some positives come out of adversity, too. We have strengthened our resilience and put some practices in place that we might want to keep around. One of those things is a focus on self-care and wellness.

If you or your child haven’t implemented a self-care routine, it’s never too late to begin. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Create a self-care plan (check out the video in the Parent Resource section). What are the activities or practices that make you feel good? Make a list.
  2. Identify your goals around wellness or self-care. How often do you want to practice self-care? What activities do you want to implement on a regular basis? (Check out the Parent Resource section for how to make SMART Goals).
  3. Decide how you’ll be kept accountable. Will a friend check on you? Will you do activities with other people? Are you (as a parent) able to follow up with your child?
  4. Keep going if you slip up! It’s okay to miss a day of exercise or skip a couple hours of sleep every now and then. It’s just about doing your best.

It may feel like one more thing to add to your day, but we are actually more productive when we take care of ourselves. Encourage your child to develop these habits now– they’ll pay off in the long run.

Defining Success With a Pandemic Perspective

This is a tough year for academic success as we’re used to thinking about it. Students have been faced with many challenges in a short amount of time, and some things have taken precedence over school.

It’s okay if your family is struggling and your kids aren’t performing as well as they did before the pandemic.

Take a moment to reassure your child that they’re not expected to be functioning as well as they used to.

Success is going to look different than last year– it might just be getting to class on time, or

getting in enough work to pass instead of getting straight A’s.

Whatever the case is for your child, they’re not alone. Please reach out to your school counselors if you or your child needs support– this is a difficult time.

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SMS Prevention Club 2021 Seeking New Members

Shuksan Middle School has a student-led prevention club that aims to promote mental/physical wellness, healthy choices, and connection. When teens are well and feel connected to their school community, they make better decisions around substance use. Our Prevention Club is looking for new members and is open to all students at SMS. If your student is interested in getting involved, have them contact Mr. Giles through email. They will get an invitation to join the weekly Zoom meeting and participate in prevention discussions and projects. Students will also have the opportunity to attend prevention conferences with clubs across WA state. Previous projects have included decorating bulletin boards around the school, organizing and participating in the Shuksan Family Community Night, and clean-up projects to keep our school clean and safe
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Crucial Conversations Challenge: MLK Day– A Day On Which To Serve

The Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is coming up on January 18th, and is a great time to ask your teen about their idea of service.

MLK Day is designated as a national day of service with the hope of encouraging Americans to volunteer to improve their community.

A bonus is that helping others is a proven way to boost our own mental health.

Take some time to ask your teen some of these questions:

  • What does it mean to serve?
  • What improvements would you like to see in the community?
  • How are you contributing to your community?
  • ·Why is it important to give back to the community?
  • What are some ways you can serve your community?

While MLK Day is meant as a day on which to serve, it can also be a day to talk about service and make a plan to serve at another time throughout the year. No need to feel guilty about a much needed sleep-in or off day– service is needed all year round!

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Shuksan Middle School SAP Program

Worried that your teen may be struggling with substance-related issues? The Student Assistance Professional (SAP) Program exists to serve students who may be using substances themselves, are at a higher risk for using substances, or are struggling with family members who use substances. Students can work one-on-one with the Student Assistance Professional or participate in a group with other students with similar experiences. Services are tailored to individual student needs and often include learning coping skills, teaching refusal skills, and learning about the risks of substance use. All referrals and conversations are confidential, and students will not get in trouble for disclosing information to the Student Assistance Professional. (Limitations to confidentiality are suicide plans, reports of abuse, or information about the injury of another person). Referrals can be made by phone or email to Mr. Giles.

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Kelly Giles

Student Assistance Professional (SAP)

Shuksan Middle School

Northwest ESD 189