GCS Mental Health Coordinator
Volume 1 | Issue 9 | May 2021
Mental Health Awareness Month
GCS Health Services & Nursing is presenting a Mental Health Series for parents. For more information about how to register, please click on the below.
Check out the calendar below for days/weeks of awareness and celebration, as well as, activities that promote mental wellness!
Shifting our Mindset About Mental Health
Let's Talk About Mental Health...
What is Mental Health
According to the World Health Organization, mental health is an integral and essential component of health. The WHO constitution states: "Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." An important implication of this definition is that mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities. Mental health is a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
Did you know..
By 2022, people experiencing a mental health crisis will be able to connect with someone who can help faster than ever. The Federal Communications Commission has designated 988 as the new nationwide emergency number that will connect callers 24/7 to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline's current number, 1-800-273-TALK, will remain accessible during and after the transition into the three-digit number. When someone calls the national number, they're routed to the local crisis center that's closest to them.
Healing and Building Resilience...
This past year has been difficult for everyone. It presented us with challenges and obstacles that tested our strength and resiliency. Due to COVID-19, we were forced to cope with situations that we never thought possible – at least, not in our lifetime. As a result of this unprecedented time, so many of us struggled with our mental health. Now, more than ever, we need to break the stigma surrounding mental health. We are in this together.
Our students’ mental health needs must continue to be a priority during this national crisis and for many years to come. The effects of COVID-19 have the potential to cause long lasting mental health concerns for our students. However, before we can effectively attend to the mental health needs of our students, we must ensure that we are caring for our own mental health needs. We cannot pour into our students if our cups haven’t been filled!
Check out the link below for tips on keeping your cup full!
What is Resilience?
Resilience is our ability to adapt or bounce back when things don’t go as planned. Resilience is not about being without any problems, rather it is learning to deal with problems by using tools and skills to stay strong and deal with problems as they come up. Here are a few everyday mental health tips to help you elevate your mood and become more resilient.
- Resilient people tend to have a positive image of the future; they maintain a positive outlook and see brighter days ahead
- Resilient people have solid goals and a desire to achieve those goals
- Resilient people are empathetic and compassionate; they do not waste time worrying what others think of them
- Resilient people do not think of themselves as victims; they focus their time and energy on changing things that they have control over
- What Does a Resilient Person Look Like? Keep in mind that being resilient does not mean ignoring problems or pretending everything is “just fine, thank you.”
Being resilient means, you have learned how to view and relate to those problems differently and in more adaptive and positive ways.
This action state involves making self-love a priority. How well are you maintaining self- care and being well? What attitude do you have towards yourself? Various activities show that we place value on ourselves. We often say to others, “Take good care of yourself”! So, what does it mean for us? Contentment, safety, satisfaction, health? It needs to be planned, and purposeful for it to happen. We need to be intentional, or it probably won’t happen at all. Resources for self-care may be derived from several sources, but there are 3 which we will focus on: Social, Psychological, and Physical.
Social includes a sense of connectedness, having a few close friends, along with a supportive community of people who have similar or shared values, meeting new people, and creating a sense of belonging.
Psychological involves using our creativity by learning new things, using our thoughts to think about our behavior and consequences, setting goals, making good choices, and forgiving ourselves when we don’t. Daily writing down all the things we are grateful for, is a good way to practice self-care.
Physical includes getting good rest at bedtime, usually 7-8 hours of sleep is adequate. Making good food choices, drinking water, exercising, and walking in nature is healthy and creates a more positive mood. Also, this helps with the brain’s ability for resting at bedtime and enhancing the ability to fall asleep.
Most of you know that a tub of ice cream is the perfect fit to the end of a bad day or the end of a bad relationship. We tend to use food for comfort, socialization and nutrition is often an after thought. Consuming unnecessary calories can often lead to weight gain, lethargy, health problems and guilty feelings. Below is a list of foods that are scientifically proven to boost your mind and provide necessary nutrients your body needs to enhance your mental wellness.
1 Healthy, Mood-Boosting Comfort Foods: Salmon, Sardines, Omega-3 rich foods
2- Green Vegetables: Spinach, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts
3- Probiotics: Yogurt, Kefir, Sauerkraut, Kimchi
4- Whole Grains: Oats, Brown Rice, Whole Wheat Bread
5- Vitamin D: Egg yolks, Fatty Fish; Fortified Milks
6- Dark Chocolate (in moderation)
7- Coffee and Tea
Supporting Student Mental Health
What to look for – Verbal & non-verbal signs that someone is NOT ok
What Educators Should Look For in Student Behavior
- Physical or verbal aggression
- Disruption (out of seat, calling out)
- Excessive activity
- Tantrums or severe shift in mood
- Sad or withdrawn
- Limited social interactions
- Overly shy or timid
- Bullying or being bullied
- Chronic attendance concerns
What Educators Should Know Mental Health Disorders
- The warning signs for mental health problems.
- Contact your School Counselor, Social Worker, and/or Mental Health Coordinator with questions or concerns.
Mental Health Education & Prevention
Why is it Important?
- Mentally healthy children are more successful in school and life.
- To Break the Stigma surrounding mental illness
What Educators Can Do in Classrooms and Schools
You can support the mental health of all students in your classroom and school, not just individual students who may exhibit behavioral issues. Consider the following actions:
- Educate staff, parents, and students on symptoms of and help for mental health problems
- Promote social and emotional competency and build resilience
- Help ensure a positive, safe school environment
- Teach and reinforce positive behaviors and decision-making
- Encourage helping others
- Encourage good physical health
- Help ensure access to school-based mental health supports
- Create a safe environment
- Don’t stand at the front of the classroom
- Provide positive feedback
- Validate their feelings
- Show trust
- Don’t be a dictator
- Give praise
- Control your emotions - remain calm
- Be observant
Mental Health Toolkit
Resources & Activities:
- North Carolina State Fact Sheet
- Self Care Wheel
- Identify Self Care Activities to Start, Continue, & Stop
- What Self-Care Is -- and What It Isn't
- What’s Your Wellness IQ?
- A Guide for Alleviating Teacher Stress
- How to improve teacher mental health: understanding and reducing teacher stress
- Tips for Communicating With Your Teen